On Day 7 we went to the Shepherd’s Field, where the shepherds who were watching their flocks one night long ago, when an angel appeared to them and said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12). The shepherds said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Here is a beautiful mural painted on the wall of the church at Shepherd's Field:
And so, following the shepherds, we too made our way to the place where it is believed Jesus was born. We went to the Church of the Annunciation in Bethlehem. The door to enter the church is a mere 4 feet, requiring all who enter to bow down in humble adoration. We waited in a long line, observing the candles and religious art covering the old stone walls, breathing in the incense swirling all around, in nervous anticipation of seeing the place where Jesus was born. Finally, we got to the entrance door, bowed down, walked down several steps....and there in front of us was a star shape on the marble floor. I watched as fellow pilgrims knelt down and touched the star, some pausing to whisper a prayer or make the sign of the cross. I touched the cross, struck by the power of being in the place where, as Scripture says, “The Word of God became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). As I stood up and lingered in the back of the room, I could not help but sing quietly, “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright...Christ our Savior is born. Christ our Savior is born.”
From Bethlehem, we began the journey in Jesus' footsteps at the top of Mount of Olives. All of us were amazed at the magnificent view of Jerusalem.
From the top of the mountain, we began Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem, by walking the path it is believed Jesus rode a donkey and was greeted with palms and loud Hosannas. The path ended in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a beautiful peaceful garden of flowers and bushes, and olive trees, even a few trees that were 2000 years old. I could imagine Jesus leaning against one of the olive trees, and while his disciples slept, he prayed, “Father if it is your will, take this cup from me, but your will be done.”
Stay tuned for more from the Holy ground on which Jesus walked...