The queues to venerate the Calvary grotto have been impressive each time we’ve visited Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
But they couldn’t hold a candle to the line of people we encountered today in Bethlehem…waiting to see and touch the star that marks the place of Jesus’ birth.
Our guide estimated that it would have taken at least 2 hours to make the circuit…so he shooed us along, noting that we’d just celebrated Mass in a cave/chapel.
“It’s just as likely to have been the ACTUAL spot of the Savior’s birth as the cave in which the Star is located,” he said.
For my part, I was moved to reflect how the two lines seem to mirror human nature.
EVERYBODY loves a baby, after all.
A crucifixion, not so much.
But like so many elements of our faith, it turns out to be a BOTH/AND…not an either/or situation.
We are drawn to the joy of Bethlehem…to the celebration of life, and the in-breaking of the divine into our world.
But after embracing Christ in the manger, we also then must ascend Calvary with Christ.
We must die to self…so that a glorious new life can begin to develop within.
Let us remember that we are in the presence of the Holy and Merciful One.