Bethlehem cancels Christmas
Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born more than 2,000 years ago, recently announced it is "canceling" Christmas this year……in honor of Palestinians who have died in Hamas’ brutal war with Israel. Bethlehem normally generates a majority of its revenue from tourism, especially around Christmas, when Christians flock to the Church of the Nativity, thought to be on or near the site where Jesus was born in a manger. But city officials said that virtually all decorations, including a tree, lights, and a nativity scene would be dismantled prior to December 25 in honor of Palestinian “martyrs.” It will likely penalize many Christians there.
This means that there will be no Christmas tree or decorative lights in Manger Square, which marks the spot where Jesus Christ was said to have been born, for the first time since modern celebrations began.
Though local authorities may try, Christmas cannot be “cancelled.” Some men once tried to cancel Jesus himself, but that didn’t work, either, as Easter makes clear. Instead, Jesus became the greatest martyr of all.
Just seventy years ago, Christians made up 80 percent of Bethlehem’s population, but now comprise only about 10 percent. Bethlehem is now majority Muslim-- and will remain dark this December.
Symbolic enough for you?
Consider putting a light in your window-- or on your doorstep-- this Christmas, in solidarity with Christians around the world. And all those who truly value peace on earth and good will towards men.
O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in the dark street shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God, the King
And peace to men on Earth
Image: Ben & Gab, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0