Church of the Nativity
The Church of the Nativity is built over the cave which served as a stable in the time of Joseph and Mary. Joseph and Mary had gone to Bethlehem, the City of David so that Joseph,
who was of the house and lineage of David, could be counted for the Roman census of that time. When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, it was already late and all of the available rooms in the town had been taken.
Mary, who was in her last month of pregnancy, could certainly not sleep out under the stars. In fact, she was expecting to be delivered of her child at any time.
The inn keeper informed Joseph, who had been looking for
a room among his fellow kinsman without success, that the stable which was situated in a cave out from the rock below the inn, had been cleaned out and was available for lodging. With no other option available to them, the young couple was happy to at least have a safe dry place to stay, so they took the offer. And it’s a good thing that they did since that very night Mary gave birth to a boy, the Messiah of Israel
You can see this very spot today. You enter the church by the main door which has been set quite low. The attending priests will tell you that this was done during the time of the Crusades when churches were under the attack of Muslim armies and Muslim cavalry were known to run their horses into such churches and kill everyone inside.
Once you have entered the sanctuary, you descend a winding staircase which leads you to the grotto in which Jesus was born. A star marks the very spot where this occurred.
Stand before the cave and picture the young mother cradling her infant child wrapped in the clothes she brought with her from Nazareth. Round about are the shepherds of the Temple flock to whom have appeared the angels announcing the birth of the one who Isaiah prophesized, the Prince of Peace. (Luke 2:8-18; Isaiah 9:6) And this war torn land eagerly looks forward to his return and the advent of everlasting peace.
But for those who have the Messiah, peace already reigns in their hearts.