December 25th Jerusalem
Today has been a day of contrasts. The first Christmas Day in my life when I haven't attended Mass! However I did line up with thousands of other people, most of us in some way those of Christian faith, but others I guess more curious than anything. I couldn't say that for me it was a deeply moving religious experience, but I had pre-planned. (There was plenty of time to think of what to do whilst waiting in the 'crush' rather than queue) So when it was my turn, I knelt down, stooped over forward, sore knee and all, and kissed with my lips the famous star saying as I did so what I had seen written on a wall of the Church of the Annunciation the day before..... 'the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us'. So in a way I let my body do the praying. Hopefully my mind and spirit will catch up in whatever time lies ahead.
And then also on this same Christmas Day, we visited the Holocaust Museum and saw what potential for evil lies within the human heart. As the queen said in her Christmas message ..... (and what wonderful witness she gave to her own personal faith in Jesus!)..... after walking through the WW1 poppies, one's only response was silence.Then later tonight I read the closing prayer from Vespers which begins:God our Father, our human nature is the wonderful work of your hands.......Perhaps it should read...... 'can be ' !!!Tonight I was joined at tea by five folk from the US who had also joined our tour, two couples and a single lady who was still very raw after her own husband's death two months ago. All six from the same Baptist church would meet for a meal everyFriday night and often holidayed together. But Tom didn't make it this time. So we toasted him in stead. If you wish say a prayer for him!
God bless you all. From the Holy Land, (photos)