Tag Archives: Bethlehem

Life from the Shepherds’ Field

In March of this year, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to the Holy Land for a two week pilgrimage.  Never could I imagine how incredible the experience would be — how deeply it would move my spirit and expand my understanding of Jesus, the Christ — and the faith he was about.  Included here are reflections I wrote during quiet moments at various holy sites along with what I tried to capture in photo.  May these thoughts increase your trust in the Holy One, who is Love to all forevermore!


O God, here I lie in the Shepherds’ Field.
On two big rocks – two of the very rocks they might have rested on as well.
It’s a great place to rest for the night. Overlooking the valley between here and Bethlehem. It’s a great place to ponder life. My hopes. My dreams. My limitations. I expect many a shepherd has rested here too underneath this great expanse of sky, pondering the same of their lives: their hopes. Their dreams. Their limitations.

15891040When suddenly! You amaze! You overwhelm! You SURPRISE!!!

Exceeding joy at such good news! That from this day forward NOTHING ever shall be the same! Of course, I’m terrified, as I’m sure they too were. But grateful. For this spot reminds that life doesn’t just have to be the hum drum of tending, day in and day out. Chilly frightful nights and long hot days. Parched. Longing perhaps for something more . . . The words form: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! . . . This place asks: what gift shall I be because of it? . . . Great and exceeding joy! Hope embodied! Possibility! Hallelujah! Amen!

Writing Later that day:

The Shepherds’ Field was wonder-filled! I could totally imagine being there. Busy with my everyday life and everyday concerns. Perhaps wondering if this was how it’d always be – cold stones underneath. Stinky, needy sheep all around. Tending and watching and just passing time as I learned my family’s trade. . . . Until that fate-filled night. Suddenly my every other day was shattered. Surprised in an instant. I’m sure I’d be terrified! Because nothing again would be the same. I’d been summoned to see something miraculous and the wonder of it all certainly would work upon me. I’m not sure I’d be allowed to leave the same. I’m not sure I’d want to. I think I’d want to believe. Have hope. Trust that it all was true. Gloria en excelsis! Immanuel, the LORD our God is with us! . . .
If I never believed before, I think I’d start. I hope I would. Having been there with that baby, that mother and father in the cave, locked out of everywhere else for fear she’d make them all unclean. And yet with such courage they brought that child into the world. With such bravery they stood together for one another. I’d like to think that all would have had an impact upon me. That that gift: God’s gift to be present to us – to me – would ready me to be a gift in return!

On the eve of that birth, may you reflect upon the gift you will be in return!

Merry Christmas All!



Good News!

It struck me during an amazing performance of Handel’s Messiah last night.  It covers the range of the prophets’ promises, the birth, the death, and life-everlasting.  It’s all beautiful!

Still:  the incarnation itself is THE good news.

(Birth site, The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem; March 2014)

We don’t need to wait for the death and resurrection to be impressed. The news of the Holy One desiring to become one of us — to take on our flesh and see what it’s like to be a human being.  From all the strain and struggle — all our best intentions and ever-present limitations.  All the glorious triumphs and incredible pleasures we experience in our bodies, minds, and spirits.  What kind of Divine Being would want to be like us?

IMG_2268(The Manger of Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity; March 2014)

Praises be to that kind of Holy One who would want to be among us as one of us!!!   No need to wait for Easter.  THIS is great love.  This is gift beyond measure!!!


– RevJule

          “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:  to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:10b-14)