On the Eve of Christmas, 2014 – Merry Christmas from Bethlehem
We wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas as you reflect on all that God in Christ has done for us and to remind you wherever you are, that you are not alone. That “God is with us” (Immanuel) by His very present Holy Spirit which He has sent. Thank you for your service in America, and all over the world. We are humbled to not only follow a Savior who took on our flesh and infirmities and sorrows, but also humbled to know so many of you who have sacrificed careers and comforts (even health at times) in obedience, following our Lord and Savior. Blessings this Christmas.
We thought we’d send you a little gift this season, a “Walk through Bethlehem” for those far from home. We didn’t create it, but thought it might be an encouragement. Sometimes when we see the gold and glitter associated with the Church of the Nativity we may feel it far removed from the humble beginnings 2,000 years ago, when no one knew of Christmas or Bethlehem, except those treasuring a few prophecies that specifically stated that Bethlehem, though small, was to become great due to the Messiah’s coming.
This online photo tour will hopefully remind you of the reality of Christmas: The continued struggle and strife that Christ came to heal. Please pray for the peace of Bethlehem, for our Palestinian brothers and sisters, and for our Israeli brothers and sisters, that they too would know Him who suffered so much. And like Him, would be agents of peace and forgiveness.
Sadly, if Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem today…They’d see:
Let’s continue to pray fervently for the peace of Jerusalem! And pray for the Arab Christians in Palestine and the Middle East this season. As said by Lore Ferguson in Christianity Today this month, “Christmas Day is not the end of the celebration—it is the beginning. The days leading up to December 25 are pregnant with hope.”
A Christmas Pageant (retelling of the birth of Jesus) by the residents of Bethlehem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjQDl95tOcU#t=14
For more on visiting Bethlehem, check out http://wikitravel.org/en/Bethlehem
To see Bethlehem, Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity from above (Google Earth): https://www.google.com/maps/place/Manger+Square+Hotelfirstname.lastname@example.org,35.2084575,1248m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x1502d87b10a0176d:0x76151e0547fbff7d
You can also find Manger Square on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bethlehem-Manger-Square/650080678347759 and the Church of the Nativity at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Church-of-the-Nativity-in-Bethlehem/210193335679156?ref=br_tf
We wish you a Merry Christmas and thank you for letting us play a small part in your work.