Ouch! The wake-up call came at 4:45 AM and no one complained. We entered the Old City to pray the Via Dolorosa before the streets are full of vendors, carts and other distractions and congestion. We arrived at the Tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in time for our 6:30 PM High Mass with the Franciscans.
It was a very moving experience for everyone. After the Mass we were all able to ascend Calvary and touch the ground where the Blood of Jesus flowed. After a group picture we walked back to the bus and arrived at the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast and getting rested up a bit we took off for Bethlehem. We first went to the Christian shop to get religious items and to support the local Christians. We saw the factory where the olive wood items are made. Then to Shepherds Field where the Angels appeared to the shepherds on the first Christmas eve.
Then lunch of falafils and schwarma at the Christmas Tree Restaurant before visiting the Church of the Nativity. There was a long line and it was very hot in the church so some went back to the hotel while the majority stayed to visit the actual place of Jesus’ birth. A few hours off this afternoon, dinner and a free evening.