Merry Christmas to my Christian friends

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Here’s some good news from the Independent to contradict the gloom and doom from the Guardian:

Crowds return to enjoy merry Christmas in Bethlehem:

Tens of thousands of tourists and Christian pilgrims packed the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations Saturday, bringing warm holiday cheer to the traditional birthplace of Jesus on a raw, breezy and rainy night.

Bethlehem, like the rest of the West Bank, fell onto hard times after the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation broke out in late 2000. As the fighting has subsided in recent years, the tourists have returned in large numbers and all of the city’s hotels were fully booked.

By early evening, the Israeli military, which controls movement in and out of town, said some 55,000 visitors, including foreigners and Arab Christians from Israel, had reached Bethlehem. Palestinian officials in Bethlehem said that with local tourists included, overall turnout was 120,000 — about 30 percent higher than last year. The number was expected to rise throughout the evening.

By nightfall, a packed Manger square, along with a 50-foot-tall (15-meter-tall) Christmas tree, was awash in Christmas lights, and the town took on a festival-like atmosphere.

This item from the Independent was followed by yet another this morning: Hundreds pack Bethlehem church for Mass:

Hundreds of Christian faithful have filled the ancient church that marks Jesus’ traditional birthplace for Christmas Mass, undeterred by pouring rain and harsh winds.

Worshippers rushed into the Church of the Nativity under the cover of umbrellas, leaving Manger Square, with its 50-foot-tall (15-meter-tall) Christmas tree, deserted.

Inside the bustling church, supplicants — many of them foreign — raised their voices in prayer, kissed a plaster statue of Baby Jesus and took communion.

On Christmas Eve, the turnout in Bethlehem was at its highest since a violent uprising against Israel drove away tourism more than a decade ago.

At least the Independent was honest in its description of the cause of the decline in tourism.

And to finish off my good wishes, I present you with a video, a bit of an oldie, but still cute in my humble opinion. Merry Christmas!

 

 

This entry was posted in Media and journalism, Mideast news and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Merry Christmas to my Christian friends

  1. Earl says:

    Thank you for your Christmas wishes, annie.

    /and, by coincidence, it is raw, breezy and rainy here in Lower Rubber Boot, Canada today- a fire blazes in the hearth.

  2. Andrea says:

    The Video is really cute and more historically accurate than many others voices I have heard over these days. It is at least clear that Bethlehem is Israel and Joseph and Mary were Jews.
    The fact that Jesus was born on 25th December is of course a simple convention to match Christianism with Pagan religion ( that day was a celebreted day by Romans ) but other churches will celebrate on the 7th january in Middle East and hopefully in territories under PA control.

    Thank you for your Merry Christmas Anne and take the chance to wish you all the best to you and your family.

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Andrea, I was amazed that they described Bethlehem as in Israel. Very non-politically correct. I’m surprised the anti-Israel activists didn’t pick it up at the time of publishing.

      Besides the questionable date of 25th December, there is also a big question about Bethlehem itself. Not many people outside of Israel know that there is another Bethlehem – this one in the Galilee. It’s known in Hebrew as Bet Lehem Haglilit, literally “Bethlehem of the Galilee”. It probably makes much more sense for Jesus, assuming he existed, to have been born in the Galilean Bethlehem since that is not far from Nazareth, and no one doubts that he lived in Nazareth during his lifetime.

      It’s something to ponder over the festive season in any case. Meanwhile, enjoy the holidays yourself Andrea and thank you once again for being such a welcome contributor to the comment community of my blog.

      • Andrea says:

        This was something I was not aware of – I mean Bet Lehem Haglilit.
        In spite of the fact my religious feeling is very low – but not inexistent -it is always interesting reading about history of religions originated in your land.
        In fact I never doubt in my life that Jesus was Jew – and most probably an observant Jew,( Pharisee ? Essene ? who knows…). It is surprising that this point is questioned.

  3. reality says:

    and I thought we were a racist apartheid country ! How does that fit in with the reports coming out of Bethlehem?! I’d love to see the reciprocity of this in allowing Jews (gosh that terrible word!) to enter the Temple mount or Joesephs tomb or machpela cave or any of our other historical & holy sites now in the PA hands at our holy times of the year. We keep being told to make “painful concessions” & then the world will see whats realy going on . But im kol hakavod how many more “painful concessoins” does the world need? Or is that just an excuse to get rid of Israel-probably!
    Any may peace & goodwill to all mankind rule the day

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