On this day we went to the Herodium to observe this massive pleasure palace built by Herod the Great just a decade or two before the birth of Jesus. This area is south of Jerusalem and adjacent to Bethlehem. Herod built this by basically combining two different mounds to an unnatural height. The first picture below is from the top pointing down towards one of the luxury pools and Roman baths and another is a picture from a tower looking down into the complex. This place was a spectacle of human achievement. There was a even a theater with parade grounds down below. This structure was meant to impress the world. It was meant to be on display.
Next we went to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This Church is a Greek Orthodox and is built on top of the supposed birth place of Jesus. Jesus as you know was born in the humblest of circumstances and in the humblest of places. I do not know what I was expecting, but I was extremely disappointed and underwhelmed by what this church had done. As you will see below, it looks like a gaudy and never used fireplace. They have filled the area with symbols and icons. It is now a place of opulence instead of humility. I think you see where I am going. Are we a people of opulence or of humility? It seems to me that both the American Church and American Christian Culture reflect the Herodium instead of the Stable. This sad alteration of the supposed birth place of Christ must have seemed like a good idea at the time, for me it seemed to deface it and its intent.
The last thing is that I am also loading almost all the pictures I have taken onto Facebook. I have labeled them and you are free to email me and ask any questions. It is lengthy to upload pictures to this blog site. Friend me on Facebook if you want or you can go to http://www.facebook.com/dcaulley1.
Blessings - DC