Peace in Bethlehem

Christmas in the place of Christ’s birth:

In an annual custom, Bethlehem’s residents enacted Christmas rituals that seem out of place in the Middle East. Palestinian Scouts marched
through the streets, some wearing kilts and pompom-topped berets, playing drums and bagpipes. They passed inflatable red-suited Santas, looking forlorn in the West Bank sunshine.

Other aspects of this Bethlehem Christmas, however, could take place nowhere else. To get to town, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the Roman Catholic Church’s highest official in the Holy Land, rode in his motorcade through a huge steel gate in the Israeli security fence that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem.

“God wants us all to be peacemakers. He wants every believer who has faith in God, Jewish, Muslim or Christian to work to make peace,” Sabbah said in his annual Christmas address at his Jerusalem office before departing for Bethlehem. “Our leaders so far have only made war, they haven’t made peace,” Sabbah said.

How much longer will Palestinian Christians have to wait?

Pray for the Church in the Holy Land this Christmas.

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