"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Friday, January 25, 2013

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Holiday season has passed but left some great memories in its wake.
Our church's Bethlehem Village was terrific.
Main Street off the town square had gates to enter into Bethlehem and all those who ventured in stepped back in time over 2,000 years.

Once inside the ancient city, visitors interacted:
The bakery offered fresh home made breads,
pottery shop created Roman coins,
natural vegetables dyed linens,
wooden toys were hand carved,
perfume made by grinding flowers,
nuts and berries given out to all the weary travelers
who came into Bethlehem for the census.

Natural dyen toys were hand 
I was part of the Messianic dancers who spun in our circle to the tune of praise music to our God.  Our tambourines drew the attention of many children.

During brief breaks for the dancing segments, we visited the other tents or talked among the visitors.  We heard tell of a baby due to be born in a barn nearby.

Roman soldiers fiercely wandered around the crowded marketplace,
reminding the Hebrews that they were an occupied country
and under Roman rule. 
(This particular soldier was not very mean to the smiling lady at his side, however...)

The temple with the high priests offered solace and prayers, away from the politics of the day.
Some of the priests were our special friends.

We blended centuries and joined Georgetown's visitors
to view the tender scene at the stable where baby Jesus was in his mother's arms.

We shared pats with a gentle lamb and donkey from that same barn.

She was a peaceful donkey amongst the crowded streets of Bethlehem.  I could easily imagine that she was the one who carried poor, weary Mary all the way to Bethlehem from Nazareth, so large with child.
(What a difficult journey on rough roads for that young mother.)

It was truly a step away from the 21st century's idea of Christmas--
sheep bleating rather than Santa's ho-ho-ho's,
Jewish music rather than Christmas carols,
and clothing we don't recognize today.
A reminder to the thousands who walked through our gates
of what Christmas is all about.
And truly a joy to be part of this message.

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