Friday, July 10, 2009

"O little town of Bethlehem..."

I'm a little behind. We went to Bethlehem on Monday. This was really special for me because my favorite scripture is from the Book of Mormon in first Nephi chapter 11:

"And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul."

I like this scripture because the angel uses the image of the birth of the Savior to try and help Nephi understand how deep and strong the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is. I don't know why, but everytime I read this chapter, it has a big impact on me and I can always feel the love of my Savior. This is all just to tell you that Bethlehem was an amazing experience and I loved being able to sing Christmas hymns in the middle of July near the place where my Savior was born.

Of course there would be sheep walking along the main road in Bethlehem..The first half of the day was spent at Bethlehem University where we got to talk to Palestinian students our same age and ask them questions about what their lives were like and what it was like to go to Bethlehem University. It was a very beautiful campus.I love cheesy pictures - we had lunch under a tent, we tend to do that a lot. Its great.This is the Church of the Nativity. It is one of the oldest churches, or possible THE oldest church in the Holy Land still in use. The others were destroyed by invading armies. This one was left because there used to be a huge mosaic of the three wise men on the front and they looked like the Persians that were doing the invading and destroying. The commanders I guess throught that was pretty special and so left this church alone. Because this church is so old, they're pretty sure this is the actual location of the birth of Christ. Usually there's several possiblities, but this is the only one for His birth that I know of.
The entrance to the church is a very small doorway - it's the humility door.The inside of the church (this church has the same issue as the Church of the Holy Sepluchure because it is also owned by various denominations and before any changes/repairs/additions can be made, they all have to agree - apparently this never happens...)The 14 pointed star of Bethlehem - it symbolizes the generations of Christ.The inside of the cave

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