To enter the Church of the Nativity, I went through the “door of humility.” It’s called that because you must bend low to fit through. Once inside, I found myself surrounded by people.
So. Many. People.
I’m not fond of crowds, and this church was HUGE and FULL. We were crammed into one section, waiting. Far ahead, I could see the doors we would eventually go through. Beyond those doors, there was another room.
Our guide was flabbergasted. Other than on Christmas Eve, he’d never seen a crowd like that. On that day, we’d planned lunch after the church visit and an earlier stop had us running behind. Still, the line had always moved quickly before, and we had other activities scheduled for the afternoon.
So we stayed.
Everyone was talking about the wait, about being hungry, about the priests allowing certain people (some of them foreign diplomats and some of them pretty girls in short skirts) to skip the line and spend as much time as they wanted inside the cave believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.
I’m skeptical at the best of times, and I had plenty of time to be so over whatever this site was.