After a fun filled day riding camels, visiting Masada, and floating in The Dead Sea, we had a relaxing, slow day and visited Bethlehem. More specifically, we went to the Church of the Shepherd's Field and the Church of the Nativity. Both places were very important places to me and my faith and I was excited to visit them. The Shepherd's Field is the field where the shepherds watched their flock and the angel proclaimed the birth of Jesus, according to the Gospel of Luke. The exact location is unclear because of the multiple locations archaeologists have pinpointed as the Shepherd's Field. There are three possible locations, all of which have a church placed on the location. The modern town of the angel's visit is believed to be Beit Sahur, a Palestinian town. Nearby, is a field known as the Field of Ruth, in which belonged to Boaz. The book of Ruth is in the Old Testament and shows an example of the Godly woman that Ruth was. The Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, is where they believed Jesus Christ was born according to Matthew and Luke. Evidence for this comes from the scholar Justin Martyr in 160 AD who wrote about Jesus being born in Bethlehem in a cave, as well as, Origen and Eusebius in the 3rd century. This site was busy because of it being a major holy site for Christians. Additionally, it is one of the oldest surviving Christian churches from the time of Byzantine rule.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
The Birth of Jesus
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Photos by Aaron Harrison and Chloe Cooper
Info from http://www.bibleplaces.com/bethlehem.htm and www.goisrael.com