I think that Bethlehem has always been in my live. And for sure since when I was a little girl and saw a light of lantern on a dark church wall. It was on of those few times when I managed to get up for the early morning advent mass (a beautiful but difficult tradition in Polish churches in december). And also I was overwhelmed by the magic hidden in the Christmas carols in my childhood and then in choir songs in the Dominican church in Cracow. Yes, those songs “smell” like Cracow and Jerusalem in the same time. That was also the first time when I finally jumped out from my bed every day at 5 a.m. for three weeks before Christmas just to hide myself somewhere in between other girls in alto voice.
And I had never even planned to go to the Holy Land by the way. I preferred to keep on imagining Bethlehem as an advent crib in the church. A secluded place, stable and not grotto, and some cotton wool imitating snow on little spruces (!). Snow? There? But we just couldn’t imagine Christmas without snow and who would actually care for the climat in Palestine? If not because of my studies (Arabic language) and one volunteering opportunity maybe I would never have come here. Now it’s been several times I’m coming.
For many people Bethlehem is just a few lines in the Gospel.
Or maybe it exists only on Christmas cards?
Maybe it vanished, just the same as other ancient cities or it’s still a small and inconspicious village?
Or it has always been just a legend?
Maybe Bethlehem is just like a longing for family happiness and it remainds the Christmas tree and snow, lanterns and someone’s smile – or maybe it’s a place where during most of the year Sun burns the ground which every piece is shrouded in the few thousand years history?
Let’s see it… today.