Having arrived in Jerusalem late last night, today we focussed on the sites connected with the Incarnation of our Lord. We began a visit to the birthplace of St John the Baptist in Ein Karem. Here were reflected on the Benedictus, a key text used at Morning Prayer.
In Bethlehem we visited the Church of the Nativity, where pilgrims descended steep steps to honour the place where Christ was born. For our celebration of Holy Communion we used the Prayer Book texts appointed for Christmas Day, and sang traditional carols. It was a moving experience to recite the words of the Gloria - Glory be to God on high, and in earth peace, goodwill towards men - in the Shepherds' Fields. Bishop Michael preached movingly on the wonder of the Word made flesh.
It has been a wonderful and blessed start to the pilgrimage.