With Israel’s concerns about the Omicron variant, the government decided last week to keep its borders closed to tourists at least through Dec. 22.
But we are delighted to gift our readers with the opportunity to celebrate Christmas virtually in the Holy Land.
ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS, in partnership with Travelujah–Holy Land Tours, will take you on a unique live journey where you will walk the Nativity Trail, tracing the family roots of Jesus, beginning in Nazareth.
The tour will take participants along the path that Joseph and the pregnant Mary traveled from Nazareth through the Judean wilderness, all the way to Bethlehem and then back to Nazareth, where the family made their home.
Among the featured sites will be Nazareth’s Basilica of the Annunciation, situated within the Church of St. Gabriel with its beautiful workmanship including a 180-foot-high dome inspired by the Madonna lily flower named after Mary.
This is the traditional setting for the event described in Luke 1:26-28 where Mary is met by the angel Gabriel who announces she would give birth to the Messiah. The site is known today as Mary’s Well.
While in Bethlehem, we will visit the Church of the Nativity, the site where pilgrims visit the impressive monastery that was originally commissioned under the rule of Constantine the Great in 327 AD. The church is structured in the shape of a cross and is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The basilica was built on the site believed to be where Mary gave birth to Jesus.
At Bethlehem's center is Manger Square – which takes its name from the manger where Jesus was laid after his birth – and the Old City, with its narrow streets and buildings decorated for Christmas festivities during the holiday season.
During the Ottoman period, the square served as a market where the people gathered to sell their fruits, vegetables, and livestock. Today, Manger Square is considered an important location for Bethlehem’s cultural and social activities.
Bethlehem’s famous Milk Grotto Church is a small, peaceful chapel located in Manger Square. Its entrance descends into a renovated hollowed-out cave dating back to the Crusader period. It is believed that Joseph and Mary found shelter here during the Slaughter of the Innocents just before their journey into Egypt. The family decided to stay there until they knew that the newborn Jesus would be safe from King Herod’s soldiers and their massacre of Bethlehem’s male children. Tradition states that Mary was nursing Jesus and a few drops of her milk spilled onto the ground, turning the rocks white.
Join us on Sunday for this fascinating virtual tour through Nazareth and Bethlehem and enjoy a glimpse of the path traveled by the Holy family at the time of Jesus’ birth.
This FREE one-hour and 15-minute virtual tour – "Exploring the Nativity Trail from Bethlehem to Nazareth" – will begin on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. GMT / 9 p.m. Israel
Travelujah is the leading social network for Christians focused on travel to the Holy Land. People are able to learn, plan and share their experiences. In addition, Travelujah offers a variety of virtual Holy Land tours. Visit their site to sign up for single-session tours, bundled tour packages or to purchase an annual Holy Land Tour annual pass.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.