For Israel, as in countries all over the world, this has been a tumultuous year. To many it seems that the world is getting closer and closer to the end of days. In Israel, particularly in Jerusalem, the air is always "heavy". There is a spiritual intensity that is always present. The sages say that it is because the Temple Mount is the center of all things:
"As the navel is set in the centre of the human body, so is the land of Israel the navel of the world...situated in the centre of the world, and Jerusalem in the centre of the land of Israel, and the sanctuary in the centre of Jerusalem, and the holy place in the centre of the sanctuary, and the ark in the centre of the holy place, and the foundation stone before the holy place, because from it the world was founded"...Midrash Tanchuma, Qedoshim.
But for many this weekend the center of the world is the tiny town of Bethlehem, for it was there that their world, their salvation was born on a Holy night over two thousand years ago. All over the world this night is observed--or at the very least it is known. Some mark the day with reverence, some with decorated trees and gifts, and others with hatred--what do they fear? The message of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men? How strange, that a gift of peace to the world, brought in a package of love can be feared by some. What is it about a tiny baby that strikes fear into the hears of some? Think about it...
There have been rumors that in the town of Bethlehem this year the symbol of the cross is banished because of fears of Islamic fundamentalism. Always there are those who think they can stifle the Holiness. You can read about it HERE but this post is not about aggression. Meanwhile, on the occasion of the celebrations for Christmas, the Israeli military has ordered troops deployed in the occupied Palestinian territories to facilitate the passage of Christian pilgrims at checkpoints--Bear in mind that this year Christmas Day falls on the Jewish Sabbath--these troops work on their Holy Day to insure Christian Pilgrims are safe. Now that, is the true spirit that we hope will spread to the world.
David was filming a concert in Bethlehem this week, and we hope to have some postings for you after the weekend. He did say he had no problem entering and driving through the city. He said he could feel the "spirit" in the air and it was a wonderful evening.
As always the days fly by and the news is to great to cover. This blog is new and in the coming days and months with help from above we hope to bring you news from Israel as it happens. We want to share with you the daily living, good and bad.
But, for today--for this weekend celebration of the Holy Birth--we at Jerusalem Vistas / Israel Vision send to you our friends and partners our heartfelt wishes for a Safe, and Holy Christmas Day, filled with Peace, Goodwill, and the love of your family.