Recognizing the Holiness of Bethlehem
December 24, 2018
As I reflect on the story of Jesus’s birth, I am struck each time about the openness and generosity this story is contingent upon. An innkeeper opening the doors to his stable and allowing a stranger to stay allowed for the circumstances of Jesus’s birth. Ten months ago, I had the opportunity to visit Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. When in Bethlehem, I was able to focus on this same openness and experience it in the people I met, sharing stories, and breaking bread. We shared this deep human connection and recognition of the holiness of where we were standing.
As the season of Advent draws to a close and Christmas quickly approaches, I find myself reflecting on my time in the birthplace of Jesus. Preparing to spend Christmas with my family, I saved many gifts made of olive wood native to the area. The holiness of the land, and bringing something tangible back from Bethlehem for my family was important to me.
One of my favorite videos from my trip is in Manger Square where I filmed the bustle of businesses and tourists in the square, capturing the Church of the Nativity. The Muslim Call to Prayer is playing loudly throughout the city and the square. This moment, like many during my trip, reminded me of the ways in which we are all interconnected and how deeply the roots of multiple religions stem from this region of the world. In such a divisive time in our country and world, the interconnection I witnessed during my trip to Bethlehem is important to keep at the front of our minds as we at NETWORK continue our work for justice.