A New Year in Nazareth Israel

Happy New Year 2011 from Nazareth Israel! I will never experience another New year’s Eve quite like this one! Fireworks went off for the longest time at midnight and there is no sleeping through it.

The only internet connection available is in the lobby of the hotel in Nazareth we are staying at. I wish you could be here to experience New Year’s Eve with a very rowdy crowd (not part of our tour group), most of which do not speak English. Right now I am trying to write a blog communicating very serious Holy Land experiences with Merengue music playing full blast all around me and a congo line of very inebriated people dancing by (I’m NOT kidding) right here in the lobby.

Obviously eat, drink and be merry is their motto and that may be all too true for each of them. Wonder how that’s working for them, really?

Because I have enough trouble writing a serious message when left alone with my thoughts, pardon me for not attempting much serious explanation of our last two days. I’ll just provide a little explanation and a few pictures.

What a whirlwind 48 hours it has been! Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, Zippori (Jesus’ mother, Mary’s, hometown), Tel Dan (beautiful walk close to the Golan Heights where one of the golden calf idol altars was), Mount of Beatitudes, Nazareth, Mt. Nebo, Beit Shean! I am a day behind in blogging our trip but yesterday AM seems like ages ago; thoughts that dominated yesterday have been replaced now many times over.

The following pictures were both taken in Beit Shean, one of the Roman Decapolis cities. Apart from that fact that this ancient city is still standing to some degree, the most significant thing about this place is that after Saul and Jonathan were killed by the Philistines their bodies were brought to this site and displayed as a “trophy of war.” David found out about it and came and took their bodies down and buried them.

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Zippori is where Mary, the mother of Jesus, was raised. The stone mosaics were the ancient’s version of tile. They are beautiful and very well preserved after all these years except the occasional large “dent” caused by an earthquake.

Capernaum was, of course, where Apostle Peter lived along with his wife and her mother. It was where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, where Peter was restored to fellowship with the resurrected Christ after his devastating denial, etc It is on the Sea of Galilee, a beautiful serene setting for Jesus’ base of ministry. The following picture is a church that has been built on the site of Peter’s declaration of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

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The picture below is of Cheryl and I on our Sea of Galilee sunset cruise with praise music playing and the hills Jesus walked and taught from all around us. Very moving!

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Friends are God’s wonderful gifts! They make this pilgrimage so much richer!
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The seagulls were catching bread in midair!
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