Looking out over the rugged, peacefully beautiful landscape surrounding the former Jewish fortress of Masada in Israel, it is difficult to imagine the violence and tragedy that occurred here in the first century.
A trip to Israel takes a little more nerve than one to a less exotic place. I had signed up for one called “In the Footsteps of Christ,” and when I told others the news, I was met with frowns and disbelief from some — and envy and wonder by others.
Sunday marks the first of the four Advent Sundays preceding Christmas. The coming of the Advent season also means that many of Germany’s Christmas markets will soon be up and running, bringing much needed cheer when daylight hours are short and the skies too often cloudy and gray.