EAPPI Reflection on Christmas in Bethlehem
It may be the only time I ever get to say this, so here: I spent Christmas in Bethlehem this year.
In Manger Square, beneath the glittering lights, we gathered next to the Church of the Nativity. Inside is the grotto where tradition holds Jesus was born. Our group was too big to get tickets to the mass at the last minute, so some of us went to a Lutheran candlelight service.
The main speaker was Pastor Dr. Mitri Raheb. I can’t find the transcript of his lovely sermon anywhere, but a very similar message from Bishop Mounib Younan, who also took part in the service, can be found here.
The fact is, Christmas in Bethlehem is not apolitical. One can not even go to Bethlehem without being reminded of the occupation. But the celebration of the birth of Jesus is above mere politics. I know, mere, as if politics can’t destroy lives, relationships, and communities. 2016 has been engulfed in political rancor, and it’s been difficult for me to cease the nearly addictive consumption of news and commentary, as if knowing enough about the situation will make me better prepared to somehow change it.
To continue reading this reflection from an Ecumenical Accompanier, please click here.