It is hard to imagine it has already been a year to the day since I was in the Galilee area where Jesus began his ministry. Time flies quickly.
Over the last several days I have been recalling what it was like to tour Bethlehem and Palestine on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Every time the scriptures or a hymn referred to the manger, I thought back to the manger that I saw in The Church of the Nativity. The manger wasn't made of wood like we have always been led to believe, but hard, cold stone.
Whenever I heard of the trembling shepherds, I remember the Judean hillside with a view of twisted olive trees where they saw a host of angels that proclaimed the arrival of their savior.
I remember the the bright colors, the drums and bagpipes, and the festive feeling of the Christmas Day parade that marched through Manger Square in downtown Bethlehem.
Visiting Bethlehem, and Jerusalem the following week, was one of the most enthralling times of my life... an experience I won't soon forget. I feel truly lucky to gain the perspective of actually being in the places where Jesus was born, walked, preached, and died.