Although we didn’t visit Nazareth until the middle of our holiday, I think it is right that I should start here at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. It was extremely hot in Galilee and as you can see we needed sun glasses.
The Basilica can be seen behind Barnaby! The complex is built over the entire area of old Nazareth, which at the time of Jesus was a very small place. It roughly stretches from the trees at the end to where I am standing..
and then, again from where I am standing to the old house in the centre of this picture…
The whole area is given over to contemplation and is very quiet. It is a strange place. Countries have given pictures or mosaics of their interpretation of Mary and the baby Jesus. Some of these pictures are beautiful in their own right, but none of them portray them as Jewish. Their faces are appropriate to the country, e.g. Japan has a Japanese Mary and child. These pictures are all around the complex both inside the Basilica and out.
You enter the Basilica into a dark space which leads up to and focuses on a small house, believed to be Mary’s. At the time we went in a small service was taking place around this house. I had all sorts of feelings but the overwhelming one was that I was REALLY standing near to where Mary found out she was to have Jesus. I have read the story so many times in different forms, to children and to adults, but to actually be in that place was mind blowing. Needless to say I cried!!
To get to the main part of the church you leave by another doorway the stairwell of which was flooded with light. Not only did I loved the colours here, but I found it quite symbolic, for Jesus is the Light of the World and these photos just state that fact.
As I went through the door the light was soft, but it just flooded through the window and the colours grew and grew. I think you will agree it is stunning.
I felt bathed in Jesus’ love.
This is the window through which the light came.
They were small but the colours were so intense.
Upstairs the Basilica had a completely different feel. A different light flooded down from the dome, which is a beautiful piece of architecture.
It was crisp and cool in contrast to outside which was HOT! They have also built over the remaining other old houses, therefore offering a bit of protection.
It was an amazing place, and if you look past all the buildings and focus on that first story, a place you can really feel close to the Lord.