The annual Christmas message given by Pope Benedict XVI today drew attention to the importance of this day and his words below struck a chord with me, as it reminded me of conversations I’ve had with some of my Christian girlfriends about the challenge of maintaining a focus (particularly with their children) on the historical, Biblical and, above all, spiritual significance of Christmas while constantly being bombarded by commercialism. The Pope stated:
”Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light… Let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped. Let us allow ourselves to be made simple by the God who reveals Himself to the simple of heart…”
So in honor of this message of remembrance, I’ve selected a few images of Nazareth, the Biblical town I was fortunate enough to visit a number of times while living an hour away in Haifa. Among the places shown are:
The Basilica of the Annunciation – built over the grotto where, according to the Roman Catholic tradition, the angel Gabriel announced to Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become of the mother of Jesus,
A Woman Clothed with the Sun – the sculpture in the Basilica of the Annunciation created by American sculptor Charles L. Madden, inspired by the quote, “The grandeur of God… will flame out, like shining from shook foil.”
The Church of St. Joseph – built on the carpentry shop of Joseph,
The Synagogue Church – where Jesus preached (Luke 4:16) and
Mary’s well – where, according to other traditions, the Annunciation took place.
Enjoy this visit to Nazareth and Merry Christmas!