Rev. Munther Issac: “Is this the normal Christmas?”
[The following op-ed, written by the Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and Dean of the Bethlehem Bible College, appeared in The Jordan Times on Dec. 23.]
Christmas is a time of joyful celebration for the people of Bethlehem, a grateful relief from the day-to-day experience of occupation and isolation. Each year, we welcome hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who come from all over the globe to visit the Church of the Nativity and celebrate where Jesus was born.
Christians, Muslims and pilgrims alike crowd the markets and exchange greetings at religious and cultural events. We give thanks for the world’s embrace. The harsh realities of life behind the annexation wall, the feelings of being forgotten, seem to fade, if only briefly and only in our imagination.