Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity

My first trip to Bethlehem was as great as I could have imagined it. My friend Sahar, who lives in Bethlehem, was kind enough to show me and a couple friends around for the day. After having a wonderful lunch at her house prepared by her generous mother, we headed to the Church of the Nativity. It is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world, and it is built over the cave that Jesus was supposedly born in. The current structure was built around 565 AD.

From the outside....

When you first walk in to the main part of the church...

This is the alter in the church that is built above the birthplace (the cave is down underneath)...

Beautiful lamps hang from the ceiling...


In the Christian churches here there are always places where you can light candles...

Lots of beautiful artwork, both in the church above, and in the cave beneath. I LOVE the artwork...






There are stairs you take down to the cave beneath...


And finally, the spot that marks the place of His birth...




On your way in and out of the church you have to duck down through the low entryway, called the "door of humility"...

As with any Christian sight here, you are never 100% sure that the marked place is authentic. And there is almost always a big church built to mark the spot. The thing that makes the Church of the Nativity unique is that most, if not all, of the Christian churches that have a presence in Israel agree that it is indeed the spot where he was born.

2 comments:

Crookshanks said...

Amy,

Your blog is just incredible. I love reading it. I was wondering why you hadn't posted anything for a while, but now I know. (I also know why Tom sounded just a tiny bit distracted when we were talking to him on Skype from Manassa. That would have been during your company's visit.) Please give Joni and Jackson a huge hug for me. I think its great that Jo-Jo will have the chance to go to Hebrew kindergarten.

Cyndy

PS. Did you know that you are one of my heroes?

Amy S. said...

Oh get out of town Cyndy! I honestly can't imagine being ANYONE'S hero! You are waaaay too nice.

And you're pretty swell yourself. =)