Everyone, rich or poor, must bow at the entrance to the Holy Cave where Christ was born, because the entrance to this sacred place is quite low.
In Bethlehem, the present Church of the Nativity was built in the year 595, over the blessed cave.
Steps from the Church descend into the area where the original manger stood.
Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, made a pilgrimage to the site of the Nativity in the 18th Century.
She brought with her a large icon, called the Panagia (holy one) of Bethlehem.
Apparently, after being in this holy and humble place, she made a decision to never wear lavish jewellery again.
The beautiful icon now hangs near the entrance to the birthplace of our Lord.
In the photo is a small replica of the famous icon, which I purchased in Bethlehem. For me, it brings back memories of kneeling at the site where the manger stood.
It has been a challenging year, and Christmas may be different for all of us. Perhaps it will be simpler, and less materialistic.
God is with us in all our difficulties, and so we proclaim :
‘O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord’.
This is my last blog post.
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Merry Christmas, and may God continue to richly bless you, and guide you.