Sing: O Little Town of Bethlehem, UMH 230
Honestly, I never even thought of it as a possibility. Yes, I knew that I was going to be in Israel in January and I had thought well enough ahead to pack a coat, a stocking cap, and gloves. But I had not thought about the possibility of snow. And even if I had I probably would have imagined snow in Northern Israel; at Nazareth or Megiddo. Yet, here it is: a good two to four inches of snow blanketing Jerusalem. I know what our itinerary for today says but I’m not really thinking about that either until we are boarding our bus. We are headed to Bethlehem.
Bethlehem is about six miles southwest of Jerusalem in the Judean hill country on the road toward Hebron. The name of this place has been pronounced the same way for about 3,500 years by three dominant cultures. First as Beyt Lehem or “House of Lehem” by the Canaanites as a place for their temple to their fertility God, Lehem. Then as Bet Lehem or “House of Bread” by the Jewish people. And now as Bayt Lahm or “House of Meat” in Arabic. Bethlehem is part of the West Bank and is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. We did transit through the Israeli West Bank Barrier on our short trip from Jerusalem. Our bus stopped at the check point and we were told to have our passports ready but when the guard boarded our bus he gave us a quick look and then the ok to go through.
As we passed through the 25 feet high wall and entered Bethlehem it finally dawned on me – we are going to get to see Bethlehem in the snow! What a wonderful gift. Thank you, Lord!