On a walk through the Old City on Friday about sunset, we went to the Jewish Quarter to see lights for the sixth day of Hanukkah outside people’s homes. The Christian Quarter near St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church was beginning to display its Christmas lights.
I’m using two Advent calendars this year. The words on the first calendar come from Scripture readings in Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Matthew and from a little book called Preparing for Christmas by Fr. Richard Rohr. The candle calendar holds prayers of intercession for people who are on my heart or have requested prayers.The calendar templates are available on the Resources Page of this website.
Here are some Jerusalem and Bethlehem snapshots. The description for the collage is under the photos.
- We found this glitzy, tinsely gold tree stashed in the basement at the College. After some dusting and pruning, it has morphed into a terrific little Advent tree with purple balls, bay and pine tree branches, and sprigs of rosemary and lavender. So fragrant, too!
- This is one of the hundreds of beautiful lamps in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
- Lighting candles is a visual, sensory, and corporate way to make our prayers known. We are not alone in ours sorrow, joy, gratitude, adoration, confession….The line of candles is from visitors and pilgrims who come to the Church of the Nativity.
- Even Bethlehem enjoys Santa Claus and other gaudy Christmas decorations.
- Today, the Cathedral of St. George in Jerusalem celebrated the feast of St. Barbara. Barbara was a martyr who hid in a tower and was tortured and beheaded for converting to Christianity. (The story of Rapunzel might be a variation of Barbara’s story). To honor her, Middle Eastern Christians make Burbara–sweet, cooked wheat kernels served with anise, raisins and nuts. It doesn’t look great, but it’s really tasty. Of course, it is accompanied by Arabic coffee.