The Christmas season is important to the Christian community in Bethlehem and the Holy Land. In cooperation with various churches and partners, HCEF launched the ‘Bethlehem, Heart of Christmas’ program.
Christmas symbolizes a time of hope and peace for the people of Bethlehem, as well as the broader Palestinian community. The origins of the Christmas story lie in Bethlehem, and thus, the celebration of Christmas represents a window to the world for Palestinians. This occasion marks not just a day of religious and spiritual importance to the Christian community of the Holy Land, but it also a day of national significance, cooperation and unity within the Palestinian and Bethlehem communities, producing a message of peace, reconciliation and togetherness.
Launched in 2010, the Bethlehem, Heart of Christmas program embodies a commitment to cooperation between the private, religious and nonprofit sectors and establishes an important precedent of such partnerships to local, national and international communities. It provides a great opportunity for Palestinians to promote and take pride in their own traditions and unique history, and it represents an important occasion for the Christian Palestinian community to showcase their unity, perseverance, and spirit—locally, nationally and internationally.
Events of the Bethlehem, Heart of Christmas include:
The ‘Most Beautiful Christmas Tree in Palestine’ Contest: This event consists of a large-scale Christmas tree contest among the various parishes and churches throughout the Holy Land. Parishes compete among each other to complete the best Christmas tree! The tree decorating is done by the children of the parishes in an effort to encourage them to participate more in parish activities. The trees are judged by a small, special committee and three parishes are chosen to receive prizes for their efforts. This competition provides a fun and exciting means of cooperation and communication between the various parishes of the Holy Land, but most importantly, it encourages a much needed atmosphere of unity between them.
Reasons to support the Bethlehem, Heart of Christmas Program
Bethlehem, Heart of Christmas