My pilgrimage to the Holy Land made the Christmas story even more dear to me.
Camels are a happy part of so many nativity sets. Here’s my camel friend. We only had a minute together, but I cherished every second.
I spent a few moments with this lovely donkey too, another Christmas figure. We were in the Judean desert, where I was blown away by the view.
Countries from all over the world created mosaics of the Virgin to decorate the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. The one below was done in Egypt and is one of my favorites. Scroll through all of them here, noting how each country is represented in the character of the mosaic.
And I was stopped in my tracks by this painting of Mary and her baby poised on top of the moon. I found this fresco at the Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem. This town, with its famous spring, is where Mary and her cousin Elizabeth rejoiced that they both had babies on the way.
I bet Mary and Joseph might have found a room at this inn, which looks to be a lot bigger than a stable. I snapped the photo just as we were leaving Bethlehem.
Here I am with my fellow pilgrims singing Christmas carols earlier in the day. Indeed, it felt a lot like Christmas!
I won’t be wearing a t-shirt this Christmas in Hillsborough. Although the weather won’t be bitter, a quilted jacket is in the cards. My four grandchildren are coming my way! I pray to match their spunk, in spirit if not in body.
No matter your faith tradition, this post comes with the very best wishes for a happy holiday season.
Thanks for reading Friend for the Ride!
The candles lit St. Jacob’s Orthodox Cathedral in Jerusalem.