We also met up with our Islam professor, Dr. Musallam, who is from there, so he took us on a tour of his hometown. He is such a good man and I really respect him.
And of course, what would a city be without a falafel stand...?
We went to the Church of the Nativity, which is believed to be the place where Christ was born. I guess with all the research on the area, it makes a lot of sense. It is the highest point in Bethlehem. That was really cool.
At the church, we learned something really cool. You know that verse in the New Testament when Christ says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"? (Matt. 19:24). I always thought that referred to an actual eye of a needle. Apparently, it refers to a type of door made in Jesus' time. It was a short, half-sized door big enough for people to get through but small enough that it would be easy enough to block up in case of an attack. I guess people would bring their camels through that door, but the camel would have to kneel down and scoot through as its owner coaxed it all the way through. So the Savior wasn't saying it's impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. He was saying that it is much more difficult and requires extra effort. Cool, yeah? I thought so too.
Us going through the door of the eye of the needle
At the end of the trip, we went out to Shepherds' Fields. There, in the vicinity of where it is believed that the angel came to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus Christ, we talked about the birth of the Savior and the people that each played a significant part in it. It was dark by this point, and a little cold. Brother Wilson pointed out that we're only about 2 weeks away from the actual time of year that the Savior was born, so this is probably what the weather was really like. It was quite the experience to sit there and imagine what had happened in that field or closeby, and the feelings that must have been felt there. It was the perfect way to end the day. The only problem is now I'm in the Christmas mood! Only....9 more months!