As one might imagine, Christmas in Bethlehem, the city where Jesus was born, is a major event. Some of Bethlehem’s Christmas celebrations would be familiar to Europeans and North Americans ­ the streets are strung with Christmas lights, there is a Christmas market and Christmas plays are performed.

But other events, which are the most important religiously, are special to Bethlehem and in keeping with the traditions of the Holy Land. These consist of multiple services and processions led by many different Christian denominations, including Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Ethiopian, Armenian and more.

Most Christmas processions pass through Manger Square, the plaza outside the Basilica of the Nativity, which stands on the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. Catholic services take place in St. Catherine’s Church and Protestants hold their services at the Shepherds’ Fields.

Bethlehem Christmas celebrations stretch for a long period, as different denominations celebrate Christmas on different days. Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on December 25; Greek, Syrian and other Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 6; and Armenian Christians celebrate Christmas on January 18.

While Bethlehem is a beautiful place to visit year­round, it becomes particularly special during the month of December when the city comes to life with light and color.
Like most celebrations in the Middle East, bright lights signify a celebration and time to rejoice and as such, the Old City of Bethlehem goes through a decorative transformation.

The streets are lined with tinsel, lights and of course, Christmas trees and Santa Claus along with Christmas Markets and a Christmas Parade.

The decorations bring the whole city to life, and while it attracts mostly Christian tourists, many locals from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nazareth, and surrounding areas regardless of their religious affiliation come to partake in the Christmas celebrations.

Eva and Norman Forrest would like to thank the Vicar and all who attended the Remembrance Service on Sunday evening for their care, attention and kind wishes when Eva suffered a fainting episode.

She was taken to A&E and after 4 hours of tests and examinations was discharged. It was felt that standing for a long period and low blood pressure was the probable cause.
The Ambulance and A&E staff were excellent.

Eva and Norman Forrest