The Hopes and Fears of all the years are met in Thee
This stanza from “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was true 2000 years ago, and it is true in Bethlehem today. During the Christmas season, while the Palestinian community, comprising Christians and Muslims, was celebrating the lighting of the Christmas tree on manger square, young Palestinians, who were demonstrating their longing for freedom, were shot at, wounded, and some even killed by re-invading soldiers of the Israeli occupation.
Two contradictory phenomena are so poignantly met in Bethlehem, as we continue to live between tear gas and Christmas ornaments, between shattered hopes and resilient faith.
Still living with both hopes and fears, we reaffirm our faith in the Child of Bethlehem, who came that we may have life and have it abundantly.
From the “Little Town of Bethlehem” we wish you a merry Christmas and a blessed new year.
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
The pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem