Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

The photograph below is market square in Bethlehem in the early 1900's, much as it would have appeared during the registration conducted in the early winter of 5 B.C. which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, the ancestral seat of the house of David from which both Joseph and Mary were descended. But upon arriving they found the village filled to capacity, with many families encamped in tents pitched in the nearby fields and meadows, and no room at the village guest chamber operated by the synagogue, families even camping in the open air on the synagogue grounds. The quiet little village had become a crowded, noisy, bustling carnival and the young couple found no place to lodge. Instead, they found shelter in a warm, dry cave at the western end of the village

which at times was used to shelter animals, but was empty except for a few scattered piles of dusty hay, a stone manger standing against one wall of the cave, and a stone watering trough on the other. And in the solitude of a bright, starry night, in the most humble of surroundings, the King of Heaven was born into the world his own hand had created.

"Pilgrims entering Bethlehem on Christmas Day" circa 1890

Manger Square


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