Tantur Ecumenical Institute Nov.-Dec. 2015 newsletter

Tantur Ecumenical Institute Nov.-Dec. 2015 newsletter

Stars over Bethlehem
by Dan Koski, Tantur Staff

“Dan, come quickly!”

Going on five years of marriage, I have since learned that those three words uttered from my wife rarely bode well for my evening plans. On this particular December night, however, I had nothing to fear: stars were falling in the winter night sky.

I doubt there are too many places in the world where watching stars fall on a night sky is anything but enjoyable, but on the rooftop of my apartment that overlooks Bethlehem and the Jordan Valley, it borders on nothing short of magic.

Quickly, my wife and I grabbed our coats and scarves, and took the elevator to the apartment roof. Even with light pollution from Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the night sky seemed to be as clear and bright with stars as any I could remember.

It only took a moment before we counted our first falling star; soon to be followed by another, then another. They fell at a delightfully measured pace, enough to keep our interest for a considerable amount of time as we tried to make out constellations and noted one particularly bright star – as I live and breathe – over Nativity Church in Bethlehem.

“Is that the Christmas star?” my wife asked.

“I’m not sure, but I’d like it to be.” was all I could say.

To the north, Tantur is part of the view. I can just make out the lights of our buildings on the south of the campus, and, if I look hard enough, our Tower and its own flashing Christmas star. Falling (or flashing) stars or not, I always take a look at Tantur before I head back in and think of how uniquely placed we are in the middle of this Biblical landscape.

Are we at Tantur doing our part to keep Christmas alive, within sight of where it all began? Have we done so this year, now that our programs have all run their course, and our scholars and program participants have left the Holy Land? Will we do so next year?

I am not sure, but I’d like it to be so.

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