Yesterday we went to a wonderful exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The Birth of Christianity: A Jewish Story was filled with 2,000 year-old artifacts from the area around Jerusalem. My favorite part was a collection of ancient manuscripts including a portion of Isaiah found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, pages of New Testament Epistles and Gospels.
Among the manuscripts was the oldest known copy of Luke’s Gospel and the pages displayed were the Christmas Story. There was something powerful about viewing an 1,800 year-old document that tells the same story we’ve been celebrating over the last several weeks. It’s a story that has become so familiar for so many of us – Linus even shares it with Charlie Brown – but those that first held that parchment were likely hearing it for the very first time.
The museum gift shop actually has some wonderful items in support of the exhibit, especially a collection of Ethiopian crosses and a book on the crosses. I discovered these beautiful and unique crosses on a trip to Ethiopia a few years ago. I’m glad I brought several home – they are a bit pricey in the gift shop.
The gift shop also had, for $14,95, a Deluxe Jesus Action Figure. The action figure comes with two jugs for turning water into wine, five loaves of bread and two fish (for feeding thousands) and glow in the dark hands (I’m not sure why the glow in the dark hands). I’m not making this up!
I suspect that we will be back at the museum soon – there are some in our family who can’t wait to visit the Body World 2 exhibit. I suspect I’ll opt to visit The Birth of Christianity again – but I’ll probably skip the gift shop this time.