Now that our Christmas holiday is near, many Christians feel the need to visit the town where Jesus was born-Bethlehem. The city resides about 9 kilometers south of Jerusalem and serves as an important connection for Christianity as the birthplace of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is the town where God came down in the form of an infant, vulnerable to the world, to offer hope and salvation to mankind. God became man and was born of extremely humble origins. A carpenter and his young betrothed were the couple that God chose to bring Jesus into the world.
We all know the account, and it is not just a story or a fairytale.
Christ's birth occurred just as the Bible depicted. Historical accounts back up the event and the little town of Bethlehem now sits as one of the most intriguing towns in all the world. Christians traveling to the Holy Land, usually have a set time limit to visit everything. But Bethlehem is a definite must for any traveling believer to visit. It must be experienced, and the peace that it will leave you is beyond any human understanding.
We have compiled a list of must see sites in Bethlehem that hold specific importance to the world of Christianity. Jesus was born here. This town holds monumental significance to believers and to the history of the world. For centuries before His birth top, prophets and scientists foretold the event to take place in this little town. Then one night it happened. Christ appeared in the form of an infant, born to a poor couple in a lowly stable to become approachable to every person in every station and walk in life.
Today, the journey to Bethlehem is a little easier to traverse than in Mary and Joseph's day, but some of the sites are still the same as they were then and the significance they hold within their walls and stones are simply amazing to experience.
The Church of the Nativity
The most famous site to Christians in the town of Bethlehem. This church is said to be built upon the site of the original “stable” where Jesus was born. The stable was in all actuality a cave used for stabling the animals out of the cold. In the 4th Century A.D., Emperor Constantine had a chapel built on the site. Emperor Justinian added on to the structure in the 6th Century AD. By the time the 12th Century came around, the Crusaders had built on to the church, even more, making the house of worship the work of art that it is today. Inside are wonderful works of art all dedicated to the event of Christ's birth.
In the north, transept sits the Armenian Altars of the Virgin and the Three Kings. In the south, transept sits the Greek Altar of the Circumcision. It is here in the south transept that visitors will find an intricately carved doorway which leads to stairs leading down to the Grotto of the Nativity. This grotto is the spot where Jesus was said to be born. This is the specific spot. It is marked today by a silver star. Throughout the rest of the church are priceless works of art and mosaics that date back to centuries long ago. Admission is free to enter the church as is the salvation that Jesus offers to all who believe upon Him.
Shepherd's Field (Beit Sahour)
This field outside of the village of Beit Sahour is recognized as the Shepherd's Field, the exact location where the shepherds witnessed the Heavenly Host and where their lives were changed forever more. The field has beautiful views of the countryside. Archeologists have excavated upon this site to find the beautiful mosaic pavement of a church built by the Greek Orthodox Church centuries ago, to commemorate the spot of the Shepherds and their heavenly encounter.
Approximately 11kim southeast of Bethlehem stands Herodium Hill. This hill looks like it has been intentionally leveled off and bears the scars to prove the process. Historically, it is all that is left to gaze upon from Herod's vast palace that once stood on the spot. This landmark holds secrets under the earth as archeologists have uncovered a peristyle court with garden layouts, a synagogue, residential apartments, and baths all dating to the time of Christ's birth.
The palace once held a double ring of fortifications that can still be seen today. There is a circular area inside that is divided in two. The western side held Herod's residential apartments and the eastern side held Herod's gardens.
In the town of Bethlehem, a chapel resides over the site that history says to be the location of where Mary and Joseph hid away with baby Jesus from the tyrannical Hunt of King Herod. The king hunted for the Christ child and did so by ordering all sons two years old and younger in Bethlehem, to be slaughtered. The Holy family hid in this spot before making the escape into Egypt so save Jesus' life.
This serene traditional little town has seen one of the most important events in the history of the world occur from among her very humble stone foundations. From an exhausted young couple to heavenly proclamations, visiting angels, and a miraculous birth under one of the most extraordinarily brilliant stars ever to be recorded in historical record, the events of Jesus's birth are nothing less than breath-taking to behold. This coupled with one of the most violent events in history as King' Herod killed hundreds of children to find the Christ Child, has left little Bethlehem with a past so acute and precious as to be considered one of the most important places in all of the earth. It is the town where the Savior of the world was born into mankind. It was the one spot that God chose in all the world to be set apart for Christ's grand arrival. It is a cornerstone of history and a location that each Christian visiting the Holy Land should visit at least once in their lifetime.