THE BETHLEHEM NATIVITY GROUP
The Bethlehem Nativity Group is a Christian Organisation from The Holy Land that represents and supports Christian Families in Bethlehem,Holy Land by selling their Hand Carved Olive Wood Religious articles.
Our mission is to find market for these products that gives the Christian communities job opportunities;a source of income;to live and work with dignity in their home land in the middle of the ongoing conflict and stopping them from immigrating from The Holy Land.
For generations Bethlehem's Christians have carved olive wood religious items for Holy Land's tourists.Due to the conflict now in the Holy Land, the tourism was stopped completely so their source of living was cut off. Many have fled the Holy Land because of the bad economic situation causing the Christian population to decrease.Christians once made up 63% of the population in the Holy Land now makes up less than 2%. If this continues,soon the presence of Christianity in the Holy Land will disappear and become a memory of a Christian community sometime ago or a museum.
Our mission can only be a reality with your support and the purchase of their hand-made work. Only with your help can we provide some stability and keep a continued Christian presence in the Holy Land.
Do not let the Christian presence disappear from the birthplace of our Church and our Lord.
The Olive Tree:
The olive tree is native to the Holy Land where it has been cultivated since ancient times. The olive tree is chosen for more than its appearance. The olive tree is so special to our world because it is directly connected to our Christian faith as Jesus prayed under an olive tree on his way to Jerusalem after the last supper and before his Crucifixion on a Cross made of the olive wood taken from the olive trees near the garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem.
The olive tree has a history of religious significance with many references in the Bible. The Bible contains many references to the culinary and religious uses of olives and olive oil. In the Book of Genesis the dove sent out from the Noah’s Ark returned with an olive branch (Genesis 8:11). It became the great symbol of peace, indicating the end of God’s anger. And its recognition by Noah suggests that it was already a well-known tree.
All the olive wood figurines and crafts that are produced are hand carved from the trimmings of the olive trees in the Holy Land, which is an essential process for a healthier growth for those trees, which also generate environmental stability. No tree is damaged or destroyed in the process.
About the Olive Wood:
All carvings made of this hard wood have a varying and smooth grain, making every piece extraordinarily unique. It is almost impossible to match the grain of two pieces since the pattern is completely hidden in the heart of the wood. Holy Land olive wood is heavy, dense and durable with a distinctive red pigment in its grain.
The growth of the olive tree is subtle; its layer upon layer creates a much curved complex grain, making every piece unique. You can estimate the age of a particular piece by examining its grain. Very old trees have a dark grain while younger trees exhibit a lighter color. Once carved, the wood is sanded and coated with a special varnish to protect it and highlight the texture of the grain. There is no need for oiling or further treatment of any kind. Just display it and enjoy its beauty. As it ages, it will become darker and even more beautiful.
Olive wood carvings will easily last a lifetime and be enjoyed by generations to come.The olive wood from Bethlehem or “Bethlehem olive wood” is a local raw material from which mainly religious, historical, and artistic articles are made, using the prunes of young olive trees, and the sprouts from the trunks of the old, unproductive trees an essential process for a healthier growth for the trees and to generate environmental stability. No Olive Tree has been damaged or destroyed during the process of harvesting the olive wood.
The olive wood is not carved the same year when the wood is harvested. We know how to exhibit the beauty of Bethlehem olive wood by storing the wood over a year in a closed place so that it displays more grain pattern in the wood even if there is only some. There are instances where the wood has an effect of obvious pattern of grain with a marble effect making into a smooth and polished look thus a unique design. Therefore, no two pieces are the same even if two pieces are carved from the same piece of wood.
Olive Wood is considered the special wood in Holy Land, it is stated in the bible
“But I, like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God's faithful love forever” Psalm 52:8
"The wood from the tree of life, Those who grasp it will experience eternal happiness" Proverbs 3:18 (Olive Tree)