Monday 2 December 2013

B is for...Bethlehem

B is for...Bethlehem
Day two of the A-Z of Christmas and we're off to where it all began. Thanks to Caesar Augustus deciding it was time to have a census the very heavily pregnant Mary set off with Joseph to register in Bethlehem. In those times there was no form posted through the door or census official coming round to you had to go the town where your family line came from. Since Joseph was of the line of David it was to Bethlehem that they had to go. Of course by the time they arrived there the town was full of others needing both to register and find a bed for the night. There was no room at the inn and the stable had to do.

The site of Jesus' birth is thought to be where the Church of the Nativity stands today. It now comes under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The majority religion is Islam, however there is still a significant population of Christians. Once December starts the tourism season gets into full swing with people making pilgrimages from around the world. Bethlehem may be known to you but a survey commissioned in 2007 by the theological think-tank Theos found that just 27 per cent of British people over the age of 18 was able to identify Bethlehem as the place of Jesus' birth.

To add to your knowledge of useless facts Bethlehem is twinned with several cities including Florence, Athens, Milan, Glasgow, Chartres and Cologne.

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