Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Cave of Bethlehem
The cave where Jesus was born is now underneath the Church of the Nativity. After winding through the church in an hour long line, we went down steep steps into a cave. Under an altar table is this star. Each person knelt down and looked through the hole in the middle of the star down onto the floor of a lower cave where Jesus was born. It was a very moving experience for me. A faith-deepening one.
Being in this cave helped me to realize vividly the humanity of Jesus. No matter how much I stress to myself that Jesus was 100% human as well as 100% divine, my imagination tends to dress the birth of Jesus in the glow of divinity. Even though there is much in the cave, like these hanging incense holders, that also stress divinity, the rock walls of the cave and its depth underground reminded me that a girl gave birth to a baby here and laid him in a manger intended to hold hay for the animals who shared this real place with them.