7. A long way to travel


Hill country near Jerusalem (the photo was taken in summertime).

It must be so difficult for Mary. She has just returned home from visiting her cousin Elizabeth. And now she has to pack up and travel again. Bethlehem is a long way away, about 138 kilometres. Mary is about to have her baby. It will be difficult for her to travel. But Joseph is there to support and help her. Together they pack up their belongings and leave town. They travel with some other people from Joseph’s family, as well as others who are heading back to their home towns. It is a stressful time. She will have to walk some of the way, or maybe catch a ride in a cart travelling that way. There’s not much chance that she will ride a donkey, not when she’s pregnant, what a bumpy and uncomfortable ride that would be!

Their journey takes them over the hills, through rocky lands and desert conditions. They are heading to Bethlehem. Like Nazareth, there is nothing special about it.  Once, a long time ago it was the home town of one of the kings of Israel, a man named David. But, now it’s just an ordinary village. Nothing special has happened in Bethlehem for a long time. But that is about to change!

Now: In modern times Bethlehem is home to over 25,000 people.  Bethlehem is in the West Bank, in Palestinian territory. In this photo you can see that it is very hilly. There are lots of houses. What else can you notice? 

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