Ok, so this is a weird post but hear me out. Friday night Angela and I had a better than average night out on the town. It was so good in fact that we decided we should share it with you. If you are looking for something to do this Christmas with your special someone (and you live in or are visiting the Houston area) here is my suggestion.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is hosting a special exhibit from now through April called “The Birth of Christianity: A Jewish Story.” The exhibit is a collaborative effort between Rice University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It is an exhibit worth seeing if you are wondering what things were like in 1st century Judea when Christ was born. The exhibit explores the ramifications of Helenism (Greek culture impressed by Alexander the Great in the 300’s B.C.) on the jewish culture. You will gain insight on Herod the Great, the Roman occupation, and jewish religious sects like the pharisees, sadducees, and essenes. You will gain political, historical, religious, and cultural insights giving you a better understanding of the world Jesus entered as a baby, born in Bethlehem. As an avid student of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith and having been to Israel 4 times to explore and learn, I can assure you this exhibit is worthwhile.
There are several pieces in the exhibit that absolutely blow my mind and deepen my faith. You will see scrolls dating back to the 1st century. You will view New Testament texts dating back to the early 2nd century A.D. Not to mention the alabaster bath tub of Herod himself. The archeological pieces will give you a solid flavor of life in the first century. Perhaps my favorite piece in the entire exhibit is a simple ossuary. On it is inscribed the name of a 1st century man. What so special about that? This first century Jew is the son of a biblical character fairly prominent in the trial and crucifixion account. In fact the obscure son is even mentioned in the Mark account. Why is that so cool. Because that kid whose ossuary I saw in the museum on Friday night, was an eye witness to the life, death, and probably resurrection of Jesus. How cool is that? So, I am anxious to read your comments. Who will be the first to comment and identify this interesting Bible character ?
After the museum, head over to Niko Niko’s on Montrose. Niko Niko’s is a greek restruant. Trust me the food is great and not too expensive. Keeping with the motif of the evening, you will be eating mediterranean food very similar to the food of 1st century Isreal. I suggest the “opa chicken” with a greek salad and hummus. You can finish the night with a coffee and desert like you have never tasted (unless you are Greek, or Israeli, or Lebanese, or middle eastern). In that case you will feel right at home.
You will spend about $70 on the whole night but it is well worth it. Enjoy your date. Let me know how it goes.