We walked up a sloping hill with gorgeous view of olive groves to a spot where John Peterson spoke to us about what an actual manger is. It is stone and not the wood we might assume. The group also discussed what a threshing floor was and we gained an image of living in Jesus' time.
Once at the top of the hill, we had a marvelous view of the rolling hills of Jordan and a wonderful breeze.
Next, we visited the Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society. From their website, they:
"strive to alleviate local poverty, decrease unemployment, increase income levels, decrease emigration, and sustain the Palestinian handicraft industry for the benefit of traditional artisan producers by effectively marketing our members' products, making raw materials available at a low cost, and developing our capabilities technically and managerially."
It was a great stop and I bought my first cross to hang on a wall in my home. The hospitality was also amazing from the staff. It was a rare opportunity for us to purchase Palestinian-made crafts.
Beit Sahour (also Bet and Beith) is a Palestinian town and mostly Greek Orthodox. It is East of Bethlehem and supposedly is close to the location where the Angels announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds. The Shepherd's Cave is a convent here, built by St. Helena. Ruth was a terrific hostess!
Tomorrow, we leave at 5:00 AM and travel to Wadi Qelt where we will spend some time in the desert! We will spend three nights at the Sisters of Nazareth and I am not sure whether or not they will have internet. In case they do not, blog posts will return as soon as possible!