Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Real Nativity Scene

So we've seen so many pictures, movie scenes, etc of the Nativity. Well like many things in Israel they just don't look quite like you have imagined. I wish that I could go back a little over 2000 years ago and be able to show you some pictures of the place as it was with Mary holding the baby Lord Jesus, God with Us. I would try to get a wide enough shot to get the Wisemen as they knelt there with their gifts. The Shepards would be there too. They would be there in their filthy clothes. They'd still be pale from seeing the angel and the Glory of God that they had just experienced.

I can't give you any of that, but here is where the place looks like today...

This is the Church of the Nativity:
After walking deep into the church, you walk down into a shallow cave that the church was build on top of. This was the spot that Jesus was born.

If you turn 180° from the above shot, you see the spot where they laid him. The manger would have been somewhere in this tight spot.

It is truly amazing to see God's Word in front of you when you go to Israel. So much becomes clearer when you see it all before you. Many, many things will not be as you perceived them.

I hope this encourages you. Yes. The place of the Nativity is real and tangible. But more than likely not what you would have expected.

If you haven't seen The Nativity Story, I would highly recommend watching it this Christmas season. It has a very Biblical storyline and is very enjoyable.

I would encourage you to remember that December 25th was originally a pagan holiday. Please, don't make it one at your celebration this year. Presents. Santa. Frosty. They can all be a big diversion of what the celebration of Christmas is about for Born Again believers of Jesus Christ. Re-read the birth of Jesus. Take the time to think about his birth. And remember that it was the very first breath in the journey to redeem a lost and dieing world for their sin. Oh, what a Father! Oh, what a Son! Oh, what a Savior!

John 3

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

9"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

10"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

4 comments:

LeLe said...

Thanks for the photos to accompany the story.

Brittany said...

You're right, it looks nothing like I imagine it. Thanks for the photos!

ARV said...

You are both very welcome. I also have to admit that the original look was not marblized, but stone. And the gold star wasn't their that Glorious night either! Most of the Holy sites in Israel have been built upon or changed by the church to keep the site from being forgotten.

This is a blessing and a curse. If they were not saved by the church, they would end up like Calvary/Golgotha. In which "the place of the Skull" stares right at the front of Arab busses parked at the bus station. But it does lose some of its original humility.

Chelle said...

I can't even imagine the feeling that you guys must have had knowing that you walked the very same steps that our Lord did...chills! Well, in the case of the nativity, I suppose Jesus didn't walk those steps but was carried instead. Smile.