The Holy Land is not so holy when the Israelis occupy the land of the Palestine’s, the Muslims building mosque on top of the Christian church and the Christians are now a minority. There is always trouble yet I went twice on pilgrimage.
Part of the Christmas story that I love the most is the story of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. It seems like a fairy tale when the bright star shone on Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Herod, the deceitful king, sent the Magi to look for Jesus. The Magi followed the bright star, found Jesus, paid homage to Him, left and went on another direction never to report to Herod.
Christmas reminds me of my last night at Holy Land.
We spent our remaining few days to rest at a resort by the Dead Sea, Jordan side after a hectic pilgrim schedule of Holy Land following the footsteps of Jesus. From my balcony, I could literally see the walls of the old Jerusalem. Casting my eyes beyond, I can imagine Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jericho, and Galilee.
The night we were departing for Canada, I retreated to the balcony to be in solitude while I smoke and drink tea. I was full of gratitude to my God for making it possible for me to experience the trip of a lifetime. It was dark and I could see a few flickering lights on top of the mountain of Israel.
In my silent soliloquy, I whispered: It’s good to be here, Lord. I thank you for having me. Then I raised my right arm, waving goodbye to Israel for I know this is my last trip to Holy Land.Goodbye, Jerusalem Goodbye, Bethlehem Goodbye, Nazareth Goodbye, Jesus Goodbye, Mother Mary Goodbye, Saint Joseph
As I moved my gaze, I saw a bright shining light that appears to be a star. And I thought that must have been the Star of Bethlehem.
Excitement came rushing out of my body and I must take a picture. Made a quick dash inside the room, grabbed my camera and another pilgrim, Neli, to show her the star. This rushing must have only taken a few seconds. When we got out, the Star is gone. Oh, no. It’s gone. I was so disappointed and sad that I have no picture to show off about it. Neli gave me “the look” and walked out of the room.
At Frankfurt airport, I pulled Father Priest on the side and told him about my experience. He simply said in his infinite wisdom, the Star is meant only for my eyes to see. No camera can ever capture it nor could anyone see it as you did. I was so moved by his explanation and tears of joy came flowing from my eyes.