Today we're taking day trips to areas near the Galilee: Mount Carmel (where Elijah triumphed over the priests of Ba'al - 1 Kings 18:20-40), Megiddo (a valley that was part of a trade route connecting northern Africa to Asia and in which many battles were fought, thus Revelation's description of the battle of Armageddon being waged there - Revelation 16:16), and Nazareth (hometown to Joseph, Mary, and Jesus - Luke 1:26-38, Luke 4:16-30).
The largest Arab community (both Muslim and Christian) in Israel live in modern Nazareth. It's interesting to make your way through a fully functioning city to a church seemingly dropped down in the middle of it, a church that honors the angel's revelation to Jesus' mother. The current Church of the Annunciation was opened in 1969 and sits atop where some claim Mary's childhood home stood.
After making our way past active businesses and streets of people going about their day-to-day activities, we entered the gates and marveled at the mosaics of Mary given by countries around the world. The one from Japan includes many pearls. It is very interesting to see different ethnic portrayals of Mary and Jesus in mosaic form.
The contrast of an active city with an island of Christian devotion is kind of like our life. You're at work or home or on vacation of wherever doing what you normally do. Others are doing their normal things around you. Unless you make a decision to pause, reflect on Jesus, perhaps look at a piece of art or read scripture or do something that will interrupt the normal day, the day will pass and Jesus' influence on you might be passing at best. You don't have to be in Nazareth to think of nothing being impossible for God or of God choosing to be with us. You can do that where you are. Take time to do that today.