October 4

The plane touches down at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. The cooing and crying of babies on board our flight remind me of the centrality of the Christ child in this religiously diverse region. Departing from heaven, the baby Jesus takes a chartered flight to earth. My flight was about 9 hours, and His was about 9 months, including a brief holding pattern above Bethlehem before He officially touched down.

Jesus’ journey was marked by social turbulence, in-flight meals provided through an umbilical cord, and a womb seat that was significantly more cramped than where I sat balled up in coach.

We shuffle through customs and continue on to the luggage carousel. While waiting for our bags, a Jewish dad pushes a stroller with the young boy calling out to get his dad’s attention. Did he say what I thought he did? “Abba! Abba!” the olive-skinned child repeats, not to his father but to his daddy.

Already the Bible comes alive.