Guest blog by our friends at Churches for Middle East Peace, originally published here.
Bethlehem, considered the cradle of Christianity, is perhaps one of Earth’s most special places to embrace the Christmas spirit. Located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, it’s the “little town” where Jesus was born, and it attracts thousands of pilgrims at Christmas.
Christians have flocked to Bethlehem for centuries to celebrate the Christmas season, and each year the city hosts approximately one million tourists.
A Sacred City for Three Religions
Bethlehem is the site of the Church of the Nativity, an underground cave where Christians believe Mary gave birth to Jesus. A 14-pointed silver star beneath an altar that the emperor Constantine the Great and his mother Helena had built around the year 338 marks the spot, and the stone church is a key pilgrimage site for Christians and Muslims alike.Continue reading Occupation and Covid: A Strange Christmas in Bethlehem