by Brooke Obie
All over the world, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. Guideposts recently visited the Holy Land to experience firsthand the places where Jesus walked, ministered, healed and lived. Enjoy these photos of places mentioned in the Bible regarding the birth of Jesus.
In the city of Nazareth, Jesus' childhood home, you'll find the Church of the Annunciation, built above what is believed to be the home of Mary. Because Luke 1:28 says that an angel of the Lord "came in" to Mary to tell her that she would give birth to Jesus, it's believed that the Annunciation happened inside her home, thus Catholics built a church on top of her home to mark the spot as a holy place. Though the modern church was built in 1969, various churches have been built on this spot since 427. Throughout the church and on the walls surrounding the church, you can find paintings of the Annunciation or Mary and baby Jesus. Here is a painting submitted to the church from a Catholic community in Switzerland-Liechtenstein. See more paintings of Mary and baby Jesus from the Church of the Annunciation here.
Shortly after Mary received the Annunciation that she would bear a child who would be the savior of the world and became pregnant with Jesus, Mary went to Jerusalem to visit her relative, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was six months pregnant with her son who would become John the Baptist. According to Luke 1:26-45, when Elizabeth heard Mary's voice, John the Baptist leaped in his mother's womb. Today, in the village of Ein Karem, in Jerusalem, a Franciscan church named the Church of St. John the Baptist stands where it's believed John the Baptist was born to Elizabeth and Zechariah.
In what is now West Bank, southeast of Bethlehem, the Church of the Shepherd's Field sits in the place where it's believed shepherds saw an angel of the Lord and heard the good news of Jesus' birth, as described in Luke 2:8-14. Just outside the church, visitors can see a cave like the one where the shepherds would have stored their sheep for the night to protect them from predators.
O, little town of Bethlehem! The classic Christmas song heralds the place of Jesus' birth. Now, the city in Palestine sits behind a border wall between the Palestinian state and Israel.
The Church of the Nativity is the oldest continuously functioning church in the world and it sits in Bethlehem, Palestine, above the cave where it is believed Jesus was born.
Inside the Church of the Nativity, down a steep, stone stairway, you'll enter the cave where It's believed Jesus was born. Pictured here is the spot traditionally recognized as the place Mary gave birth to Jesus more than 2,000 years ago.
Across from the birthspot of Jesus is the spot marked where Jesus' manger lay. The Catholic Church of the Nativity has marked both spots with candles.
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