My soul yearns for the Lord; for a number of reasons. My Dad died earlier this year and my Mom is very sick. Further, there are serious health issues which plague our family for which I seek God’s presence. This yearning for His presence took me to the Holy Land. I know Most Devout Catholics dream of reaching the Holy Land. This dream came sooner than expected for me and my sons. I go to church almost daily and I must admit places like Mount Sinai, Dead Sea, Bethlehem and River Jordan are places which exist only in the Bible. I believe that God exists but like ordinary Catholics, it takes one big miracle for doubters like me to have a deeper faith in one Supreme Being who controls all events in our lives. This “Miracle” is yet to be but to walk the places He walked is in itself a big miracle.
Let’s begin where it all started.
The manger. Do you ever wonder why we put stars on our Christmas trees? It is a popular Christmas decoration. There are research which leads to a German practice since 19th century. And according to the Bible, it is the star that led the Wise Men to His Majesty: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage’” (Mt 2:1-12). But to my mind, it is the probable reason why the Israelites / Queen Elena, marked the Lord’s birth place with a silver star.
In our Pilgrimage, my sons and I were brought to the Nativity Church, the place which is believed to be the location where Jesus was born. According to research which includes our local tour guide from Nazareth, the Nativity Church was built around the place where Jesus was born.
When we visited the Church, there was a big Christmas tree in the Churchyard.
According to the local tour guide, the Nativity Church was the only Church left undisturbed by the Moors/Muslims because they saw the images of the Three Kings at its window. Sadly, I was not able to capture the mosaic picture of the three kings.
Baptism at Jordan River
For most Catholics, after we are born, baptism follow shortly. However, the Bible teaches us that Jesus was baptized at the Jordan River when he was already a full grown man. My sons and I were fortunate to be baptized in the very same River. It’s actually a very small one. A glimpse of the picture below would give you an idea how amazingly small it is.
The water looks green but when I got some and placed it in a bottle, the water was surprisingly clear. When we were baptized it was so cold but my children, specially Miguel, did not mind.
Wedding feast at Cana
The second luminous mystery is the wedding feast in Cana. This was one of my favorite stops because I was fortunate to sing solo in a wedding. Actually 23 couples renewed their vows when I sang. The picture below shows the famous Church which stood in place of the house where Jesus performed His first Miracle; the transformation of the water into wine.
You might think that the wine containers are small or portable. Actually the water/wine containers are about this size:
According to the local tour guide, this cement like container is the original water container which held the special wine made by Jesus.
There a lot more of stories to tell. But, actually this blog is not intended to cover all aspects of the Pilgrimage. This is all for now.
A Blessed Merry Christmas to All!