Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Story: In Real Life

I will be the first to admit. I don't like the holidays overseas! I know, it is a negative thing to say on my otherwise positive blog, but it is true. I'd much rather be home with family, friends and all things familiar.

But, we live overseas. SO! I tried to reflect on what actually makes Christmas living overseas good. I couldn't come up with a lot until I was reading my kids one of their favorite holiday books. It is actually an advent book where you open a door each day to reveal a little more of the Christmas story with wonderful artwork. I was reading along admiring all those beautiful pictures and my little girl pipes up and says "I think it is cool that all these places this book is talking about...we've been to them and have seen them with our own eyes!"
She was right!
I only had beautiful pictures to admire and give me a picture of the sights and scenery of the Christmas story when I was a kid. But, my kids have BEEN THERE. That is so cool! And this otherwise would not be true had we not embarked on this big overseas living adventure.

So, a little gift from my family to yours.
These are the sights of the Christmas real life.

{The narration is taken from the book mentioned above.}

God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary in the village of Nazareth. The angel said, "Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you. You will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be called the Son of the Most High and will reign forever; his kingdom will never end. The holy one to be born to you will be God's Son. Even your cousin Elizabeth is going to have a child in her old age. Nothing is  impossible with God."
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May everything you have said come true." Then the angel left her.

Mary's house in Nazareth which is now the altar in the largest Christian church in the Middle East.
Mary was engaged to a man names Joseph. But before they were married, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel told him that Mary was to have a baby from God. Joseph was to name the baby Jesus because he would save his people from their sins. He would also be called Immanuel, which means "God with us."

Joseph working in his carpentry shop in the re-enactment at Nazareth Village.
At that time, a decree said everyone had to go to his family's town to register. Joseph was from the family of David, so he and Mary went to Bethlehem, which was David's home.

About a 100 mile trip with hills, mountains, and rough terrain.

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born, and Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The place of Jesus' birth, under the altar in the Church of the Nativity.
Shepherds living out in the fields nearby were keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Sheep with their shepherd in Shepherd's Field just outside Bethlehem.
Sometime later Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
Camels traveling across the eastern desert.
Soon after his birth, Joseph and Mary presented Jesus to the Lord at the temple in Jerusalem, in keeping with the law.

The temple mount in Jerusalem, about 20 miles from Bethlehem.

That day a godly man named Simeon was in the temple. The Holy Spirit had told him he would see the Messiah before he died. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God for keeping his promise. Simeon said, "I have seen the Savior you have given to the world. He is the Light that will show God to the nations. And he will be the glory of your people."

Painting in chapel on Shepherd's Field in Bethlehem.


  1. This was so incredible -- thanks for sharing! :) Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Thanks Katie! Have a Merry Christmas!!