As we welcomed the season of Advent in Palestine, we decided that this year it would be a great opportunity to have a program so simple yet so meaningful and spiritual.
We went on a guided tour of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.Although one of the most important landmarks, not many people know the antiquity of it;they only know that it is where Jesus Christ was born. We all left Sabeel offices early in the morning (35 participants) excited to learn and explore this significant place that is around the corner with such deep history overall these years.
Ms. Gloria Nasser guided us through the years of this church’s history at St. Francis Church, where she told us the story of the Nativity Church in both historically and spiritually way.From the beginning of Christianity through the Crusaders time and Islamic period, through the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate, the story was narrated in such a great manner, and the participants listened in great awe. We then sang Christmas hymns right before our tour inside the Nativity Church.
Through out our tour it was explained to us where each church denomination was located under the status quo, and its significance to the people. Following our spiritual tour, we walked toward the Milk Grotto church officially known as the”Grotto of the Lady Mary”with a Franciscan chapel built above it. Tradition says that while Mary was nursing baby Jesus here, a drop of milk fell to the ground, turning it white. The women had the chance to pray individually and as a group, and also sang a hymn to Mary.
After this astounding spiritual excursion, we concluded our fellowship with homemade lunch in Beit Jala, at the “1890” restaurant (which was actually a home built in 1890), and the hosts were kind enough to let us play bingo.
“A day to remember” was echoing amongst them.