Welcome to Bethlehem

Regardless of travel advisory, people from all over the world wants to see where it happened. Regardless of personal belief, they want to visit where it all began. Regardless of culture, pilgrims and tourist mix together. Regardless where they came from, they will go the distance. This place is the only place on earth where Christmas celebration is daily.

Bethlehem is a very important place for Christians, Muslims and Jews. For Christians, it is the birthplace of Jesus. For Jews, it was the birthplace of King David, Israel’s second king, lineage of Joseph, husband of Mary. For Muslims, it was the place the Magi, three wise kings, paid homage to Jesus Christ.

 

The Franciscans celebrate mass daily at noon and perform a procession around the grotto to maintain the Christmas spirit. One can’t help but be filled with a feeling of reverence in this holy site.

 

Bethlehem is a divided city, a walled city similar to Jerusalem. The wall built by Israel and they control who can enter and exit out of Bethlehem. The Palestine has authority over it but the majority that lives in Bethlehem are muslims. I doubt if there are any Jewish inhabitants in Bethlehem.

On the wall is a sign: Welcome to Palestine. Welcome to Bethlehem.

 

It was good to celebrate Christmas not on December 25. Christmas doesn’t end on Christmas, it happens every day.

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