For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.' When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.
City of the Shepherds’ Field
The above biblical story is the reason behind naming Beit Sahour the City of the Shepherds’ Field, as the historical most significant story that divided the history into two parts by the greatest event of all times, the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and savior. Beit Sahour’s Shepherds Fields are:
1- The Orthodox Shepherds’ Field:
Located in a small valley filled with olive trees, some of which date back to 2,000 years ago, is a subterranean church dedicated to the Mother of God. Local Christians call the site Der Er-Ra'wat, meaning the Convent of the Shepherds. The site is revered as the spot where an angel, surrounded by a supernatural light, appeared to the bewildered shepherds and spoke: "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth, Peace among Men." Three of the shepherds to whom the angel announced the birth of Christ were buried in the west side of the Cave Church; their tombs are still visible.
2- The Catholic Shepherds’ Field:
The Franciscan site (The Catholic Shepherd’s Field), known as Der Es-Siar, located 1km north-west of the Orthodox Shepherd Field. According to archaeological evidence in the field, an early church dating from the fifth century was enlarged in the sixth century and stones from the octagonal structure of the Basilica of the Nativity were used in the construction of its apse. The present sanctuary, erected in 1953-54, stands over a cave in which the shepherds are believed to have lived. It is built in the shape of a tent, permitting natural light to enter the church in beautiful rays.