From Bethlehem With Love and Joy ! Visits of the Faithfuls .
Its Christmas morning today and I woke up inspired to share my experience in Bethlehem with you .
Christmas is a time I love what with the season of joy and Cheer that the occasion ushers in.
Bethlehem is the town where Jesus was born now known by Young and old as the place of the root of our Faith as Christians. A visit to Bethlehem confirms the words of the songs of the Christmas carols we have sung for many years. Including O little Town of Bethlehem, O come all ye Faithfull,.
A small set on a hill but popular in the hearts of many famous sites to visit including
- The church of Nativity Birth Place of Jesus,
- Manger square -Manger Square is a city square in the center of Bethlehem in Palestine. It takes its name from the manger where Jesus is said to have been born.
- Shepherds Field -The chapel marks the place where, according to Catholic tradition,the angels first announced the birth of Christ
- The Milk Grotto – Along the south side of the church of Nativity leads to the Milk Grotto which is venerated by both Christians and Muslims, where according to Christian tradition, the Holy Family took shelter during the Slaughter of the Innocents and stayed therefor a short time hiding from Herod’s soldiers.
This year stands out as many Pilgrims throng Jesus Birth Place from all over the world ,news media has this to say of this Awesome Occasion sharing with you below accounts of 3 sites in affirmation –
Aljazeera.com comments of the preparations and decorations :
Bethlehem, Occupied West Bank – The town of Bethlehem is geared up for the Christmas season. A net of lights strings from building to building, creating a canopy over the town’s famous Manger Square. An adorned Christmas tree with a life-sized nativity scene lies at the centre of the plaza. Groups of tourists and pilgrims go in and out of the Nativity Church to see the gold-plated star marking the spot where Jesus was born.
This i witnessed as we visited Bethlehem early in the morning of the 24th even at this hour we could hear sounds of the boy scouts getting ready for their annual parade to the Manger Square. The town slowing waking up but already geared up to receive the annual throng of visitors what a sight !
From the Times of Israel –
BETHLEHEM — Thousands of Palestinians and international visitors descended on Bethlehem on Monday night to celebrate Christmas in the city feted as the birthplace of Jesus.
Cars were lined up in traffic jams in and around the historic pilgrimage site and Star Street, the main thoroughfare in Bethlehem’s old city, was packed with revellers who had come for the Christmas Eve festivities A tall and brightly lit Christmas tree stood in the middle of Manger Square, the plaza adjacent to the church claimed to be built on the site where Jesus was born, and groups of Palestinian locals sang holiday carols and other songs atop a stage adorned with glowing baubles.
According to Palestinian Authority Tourism Minister Rula Maaya, all Bethlehem hotels were fully booked, and the city was preparing to host an “astounding” 10,000 tourists overnight.
“We haven’t seen numbers like this in years,” she said, adding that the 3 million visitors to Bethlehem in 2018 exceeded last year’s count by hundreds of thousands
Read this Testimonial of a Pilgrim.”This has been No. 1 on my bucket list,” said Yohannes Denu, 42, of Los Angeles. There’s no better place to be as a Christian, it takes me back to all the rich stories I heard growing up. To be at the center of my faith, it’s joyous, it’s unbelievable.”
In anticipation of the midnight Mass at the St Cathrines Church , the climax of Christmas Eve celebrations, Palestinians and pilgrims huddled in groups, some singing “Silent Night” and carrying candles next to the Chruch of Nativity .
Christian pilgrims from around the world have attended mass at the Church of the Nativity in the town of Bethlehem, located at the biblical birthplace of the baby Jesus.
During the ceremony, attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of Jerusalem touched upon the subject of the holy city of Jerusalem and the United States’ controversial recognition of it as Israel’s capital during the service.
“My message to all those that have the power to decide our future. Today even more than ever, we need from you, from all those that can take decisions on real policies, serious policy.”
“And despite the many disappointments of the past and of the present days, with determination, do not abandon having a vision..”
Father Pizzaballa called for politicians to have “courage” and “a vision” referring to Jerusalem as a place to be “served” and not “possessed”
Bethlehem remains a place you should visit someday soon.
View this video -https://youtu.be/ES6J1IZauvQ