Spending the Christmas Season in Nazareth, Northern Israel
December 12-December 25, 2012
Matthew 21:11: And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
John 19:19: Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
If you will be travelling throughout Israel between December 12 and December 24, then you are welcome to come and celebrate the Christmas season in the childhood home of Christ in Nazareth.
Often referred to as the ‘cradle of Christianity,’ Nazareth is an incredibly special place, due to its strong connection to Christ. Not only did Christ spend much of his childhood and youth here, but it was also the birthplace of Mary, and the site where Mary was told by Gabriel that she was to give birth to Jesus (the Annunciation.) ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ is also mentioned in the New Testament 17 times, and is solidified as a site of utmost importance in the life, death and worship of Christ.
Additionally, Nazareth is home to numerous churches and places of Christian spiritual importance. The Basilica of the Annunciation was the first church built in Nazareth, over the home of Mary and Joseph. It also is home to Mary’s Cave, where Gabriel visited Mary and told her she was pregnant, and would give birth to our lord and savior, Christ (according to Catholicism and Christianity,) as well as one of the holiest sites in all of Christianity.
Another site of major significance, and another special reason to celebrate Christmas in Nazareth is the Greek Orthodox Announciation Church, built over the place of Mary’s well, and the site where the Greek and Orthodox believe that Gabriel told Mary that she would deliver Christ.
From December 12-19, Nazareth will host its Christmas Market, where visitors can come to buy food, watch musical performances featuring an international music selection (Spanish and Latin, African drums, reggae, etc.) and also listen to Christmas carols. The market place will be filled with the merrymaking of clowns, performers, Santa’s, arts and crafts and shows for Children. There are stands lit aglow in lights, along with a huge lit Christmas tree (which is lit daily during the Christmas Market celebrations, at 19:00.) The festival takes place in Mary’s Well Square, and goes on nearly all day. This is the perfect family event, and an opportunity not to be missed.
On Christmas Eve (December 24,) the festivities will continue between 15:00-17:00 with a Christmas parade, featuring thousands of participants. The parade’s path will be from Paul 6th road, until the Basilica of the Annunciation. Make sure to come a little bit early, you definitely don’t want to miss the festivities and it becomes jam packed with people.
From 19:00 onward, the festivities will continue with a firework celebration, followed by an evening spiritual mass, held every year for Christmas.
On December 25 (Christmas day,) every Christian church has its own separate mass, with over 30 churches in operation in Nazareth. The Basilican of Annunciation is scheduled to have its mass at 19:00, but please call and confirm this in advance, (04-657-2501,) as schedules can sometimes change. We recommend that you come in modest attire, as this is a holy site for Christianity, and one of Christianity’s most prominent churches.
Come and visit the ancient spiritual center of Nazareth, and the cradle of Christianity. Take part in the Christmas festivities, do a little shopping, enjoy shows, parades and mass, and revel in the amazing spirit and ambience of Christ.