This is part one of a three-part series focusing on varying perspectives of Emmanuel’s Pilgrimage to Bethlehem.
Several years ago, the Greg Carroll family was able to make their first Pilgrimage to Bethlehem.
It was an experience of the senses to say the least. We waited anxiously as we sat in pre-tour wondering what to expect entering the city for the first time.
There was talk of Roman guards, thieves, and lepers as we entered the vestibule. The anxiety and excitement seemed to build! After receiving our gold coins to pay our taxes, our group of pilgrims set out. By the time we heard our first cry of “unclean,” my daughter Laura’s anxiety was so heavy she climbed up into my arms.
When we reached the booth to hand over our taxes she was convinced this was not really a place she wanted to be. My son William however thought it was “kinda cool”.
It wasn’t until we entered the actual “city” (the covered parking garage) that the sensory overload hit us. Our heads were snapping back and forth as we tried to look around to see and hear everything around us! Laura and William immediately were drawn to the animals roaming freely as we went.
My husband, Greg, and I kept recognizing people and missing actor’s lines because we wanted desperately to see and talk to everyone around us. It was going too fast!
The last scene where the child thief outstretched his hand to the leper left me in tears, Greg in awe, and William and Laura silent.
Walking into the church hallway once the tour was over to receive apple cider and fill out a comment card, all I could think was “I want to go back, there are too many things I need to go see again.”
Unfortunately, the Carrolls haven’t been able to go back for four years. This year we are so excited to experience the journey again, but this time from the perspective of being a part of the city.