Getting To Bethlehem

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus

that the whole world should be enrolled.  This was the first enrollment,

when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  So all went to be enrolled,

each to his own town.  And Joseph too went up from Galilee

from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David

that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her

child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son.  She wrapped

him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no

room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:1-7

We were going to go to Bethlehem.  It was obvious!  It was a given!  Why even go to Israel if we weren’t going to go to the very place Jesus was born?

These statements all show how naive I was before I started planning this pilgrimage…

Geographically speaking, Bethlehem is only about 6 miles away from Jerusalem.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to drive there depending on the traffic.

What I didn’t realize is that you have to cross the Palestinian Border to get into Bethlehem.  We will need to bring our passports to cross the border.

From some of then research I did, I realized we wouldn’t be able to make this trip alone.  If we were not with a tour group, we stood the risk of being accosted by people wanting to take on tours of the Holy Sites for money.  It wasn’t pleasant and could even be a scary situation.

After looking into the bus tours, I was floored at how expensive it was going to be for our whole family to get in the city where Jesus was born.  Wow!  I really, really hadn’t expected this and realized, sadly, that we might just have to take this out of our plan.

Luckily, there is a happy ending to this story.  As I searched the Website for our Hostel, I realized that they actually offered several tours.  Cheaply.  With a discount for people staying at the Hostel.  I e-mailed them immediately and booked our tour to Bethlehem.

We aren’t going on a donkey like Mary did.  And our trip won’t be as long or arduous as hers.  But, the planning was much harder than I thought it would be.

I can’t wait!


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