Bethleham

Trip Start Dec 01, 2011
1
177
205
Trip End Jan 20, 2013


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Flag of Palestinian Territory  ,
Monday, December 17, 2012

Bethleham is not far from Jerusalem.  It is just approximately 20 minutes by taxi.  We had two stops in Bethleham.  Our first stop was Sherpherd’s Field.  This is the field where supposedly the angel visited the Shepherd’s and told them to go see the new Saviour.  There is a church on site now that has paintings depicting these events of the angel’s in the sky.  The second stop was The Church of the Nativity.   This is more in the center of the city.  It was cool to see this place when it is near Christmas time.  Most of the people that live here are Christians.  There is a huge Christmas tree in Manger Square.  The Church of the Nativity is built on top of the site where Jesus was supposedly born.  In a lot of the depictions from pictures and paintings, they say Jesus was born outside in a manger with stars in the sky, but I think it makes more sense that he was born underground in more of a cave like setting to keep warmer.  I find it highly unlikely that Jesus was born in an open field, but I could be wrong.  It is very tough to see this site.  We hired a guide to let us inside.  The actual site is underground.  It is a star that symbolizes the birth and spot of where he was born.  The guide let us through the back door entrance, but we had to wait several hours for this to happen.  At 8:00, Muslim’s worshiped here.  At 9:00, Jews worshiped here.  At 10:00 Armenian’s worshiped here.  You cannot interrupt their worship.  At 11:00, it was time for cleaning.  There was a giant tour group after this, but we came in through the back entrance to the spot.  People that come down here literally fight for a spot to get a picture here.  They push, shove and step on your feet to get here.  It is chaos.  I pictured people that were so into Jesus to be a little more polite than this.  Outside of this site is just a decent town center with a market.  I saw some great nativity sets.  I thought it would be really cool to say I bought my nativity set at the place where Jesus was born.  They refused to buy anything from China here and said it is all garbage in China.  There were small shops here that you could watch them hand carve the nativity sets out of Olive wood so that you would know it is authentic.  It looked very nice, but it was very expensive.  
There is a milk grotto here.  They say that Mary spilled milk here while feeding and it stained the wall white.  There is now a church here.  I don’t believe this story or remember it from the bible.  There was a church service going on when I was here and I didn’t even get to see the spot where it happened.  

 I am now getting a little bit fed up with traveling.  It is very hard to see anything without paying a fortune.  Everything in Israel seems to be only open to certain individuals and that is extremely frustrating. I do not like complicating things.  I just want to see what I want then leave.  It is frustrating and this makes me not want to travel.  This is quite sad that I feel this way because Israel has always been my dream.  
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