Its becoming a new tradition for me to spend Christmas Eve in Bethlehem…this was my 2nd year trekking across the border for the festivities. Its crazy to try to imagine how it was back then, compared to now; but my mind wandered back to the night when HE was born (standing on the same ground will do that do you).
This year there were TONS of people there. I think the fact that the weather was nicer this year, brought out more locals (and by locals, I mean Men. Women were few and far between). As I stood looking toward the crowd, I thought, “and what a contrast to the few animals that were there to witness his birth..”
I had other moments that took me back. Moments of, “I can’t believe I’m seeing this here” like the infamous STARS and BUCKS coffee shop (close enough to attract Starbucks lovers, but not close enough to break any infringement rights). Can you imagine if Mary was like, “Oh, Stars and Bucks!!!” We traveled all this way, I could really use a cup of Stars and Bucks coffee to get me through this…” hehehe. (ok, well even if Mary wouldn’t have been excited, I sure was)
And of course, we all have this nice little image of what it was like that night… in a cute little manger, surrounded by the shepherds, wise men, donkeys, sheep, and the shining star on top. I’m sure our pop culture plays a big part in that; but as I stood, posing next to the famous “nativity scene” in front of the Arab Christian tourist shop I actually took a moment to imagine what it was really like that night.
More or less, likely in a small cave or some sort…cold…smelly…dark…birth-pains…
This is how our Savior was born.
And I was humbled.
For as I looked all around me, 2000 + years later, I saw an extreme of opposites surrounding me. Now versus then.
But ONE thing remains the same: The REASON! His LOVE remains the same both then and now. He came for them; He came for us. He died for you; He died for me. No matter how much our world changes, for better or worse, this one constant will remain the same….and I love HIM even more today than yesterday.
Bethlehem is a wonderful place to be on Christmas Eve, and I hope the tradition continues for years to come, but the location is just that…. a location. What matters is what’s in our ❤! That is the truth of Christmas! Much love to all of you, from my beloved Bethlehem!
(and wouldn’t it be fun to join me next year!?!)