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Oh Little Town of Bethlehem


English: "(...) Entry of Pilgrims into Be...

English: “(…) Entry of Pilgrims into Bethlehem at Christmas time. It was taken in 1890.” (text from same source) Note: At the source of this picture, several pictures portray Christmas in Bethlehem in 1898 (not 1890). This picture seems to be the only exception. It could be that the indicated date is actually a typo… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Autograph manuscript of first stanza ...

English: Autograph manuscript of first stanza of O Little Town of Bethlehem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On December 21st, our family will be gathering with others in worship for the seventh annual joint simulcast Christmas service with the people of Bethlehem at the Washington National Cathedral.

Prayers, readings, and hymns alternate between Washington, D.C., and Palestine via the Internet, bringing together people of different lands, languages, and ethnic backgrounds in celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace.

In this age of turmoil and religious strife, it may be a surprise to some to know that Christians have religious freedom in Palestine and that Christmas and other Holy Days are celebrated vigorously!

The carol, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, was inspired by a pilgrim’s first visit to Bethlehem many years ago. This year it will acquire new meaning for me as we join in song with the “Living Stones”, as the descendents of the first followers of Jesus call themselves today. Let me encourage you to visit and attend church services in Palestine when you make your pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Inspiration awaits.

Learn more about the writer of “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, Philip Brooks and his journey, below.

http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Notes_On_Carols/o_little_town_of_bethlehem.htm

http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/HTML/christmas_classics_videos.htm#Chap_02

Stop Killing Terrorists


Brother Andrew’s Prophetic Plea: Stop Murdering Terrorists | Christianity Today.

60 Minutes on the Plight of Palestinian Christians


I have a proposal at the end of this blog. I hope some of you will take me up on it!

Even I am curious about why Israel and Palestine are appearing in my blog posts to such an extent lately! I guess we can say it’s because they keep coming to the forefront of world events!

If you missed the segment about Palestinian Christians done by Bob Simon on

60 Minutes

60 Minutes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

60 Minutes, last night, here it is, within an article about it in “The Atlantic“. Click on the video to watch it.

60 Minutes on the Plight of Palestinian Christians – Robert Wright – International – The Atlantic.

I’ve said that you can only learn the truth about what is going on in the West Bank by going to Palestine and hearing from the people there, but this is almost as good!

I’m also adding a link to, “Tent of Nations”, a Christian farming enterprise in Palestine, surrounded by three settlements. I’ve wanted to give you their perspective for quite some time.

http://www.tentofnations.org/

What do I hope to accomplish with my blog posts?

One small, but realistic goal is that Christians in the United States who visit Israel might do a simple thing. When you tour Israel, let your tour guides know that you want to attend an Evangelical or Orthodox Church in Bethlehem, the West Bank, on Sunday morning. Be persistent. Some guides discourage these visits.

These visits will encourage the “Living Stones”, Christians who remain in the Holy Land, and present an opportunity to learn directly from them. It seems like a small thing for a visiting Christian to do.

I will publish a list of churches in Bethlehem (a short drive from Jerusalem) soon.

We Christians are exhorted in our Holy Book to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!”

If we haven’t already been doing this, it’s a good time to begin.  Peace is not within reach anytime soon, but at least, long established misconceptions are being uncovered.

Holy Land Trust – Sami Awad was presented with the “Visionary of the Year”


Holy Land Trust – Sami Awad was presented with the “Visionary of the Year”.

Mustafa Tamimi Has Died


It is reported that Palestinian protester, Mustafa Tamimi, picked up and threw rocks at the IDF, thus compromising a Peaceful Protest. Of course, he was wrong to let his passion move him to throwing rocks.

For those who think, it is impossible for Palestinians to be “peaceful”, you should know that many of these peaceful protests have originated out of the Palestinian Evangelical Christian Church working alongside Muslims.

“Point is that the IDF should not use a tear gas canister like a projectile weapon. It should be aimed up into the crowd for dispersal, not in a protestor’s face. There are ways of dispersing crowds, and the IDF soldier will ultimately go unpunished.”

Warning: The video feed has a very gruesome scene.

Mustafa Tamimi has died | Mondoweiss.

Speaking Of Palestine


Palestinian Christians celebrating the Eve of ...

Palestinian Christians

“When you visit Israel, we urge you to visit with Palestinian Christians and ask them what they want us, their fellow Christians, to support.

David Gushee ends his letter with these words. Nothing one can read, no media report, replaces real experience and conversation with people living in the situation.

Read his letter below.

http://www.newevangelicalpartnership.org/?q=node%2F139

Gaza’s Children IV


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUtBBPs8_8s

I realize this is a “conundrum”, but consider that many Palestinians are well educated people; in Gaza they are living in terrible poverty which only increases their bitterness toward Israel.

Given that Israel fears terror; could not Israel think of a better solution than continuing to hold their neighbors prisoner in such extreme poverty?

Continuing a policy based on ‘denial’: ‘this wall, checkpoint system will keep Israel safe’, isn’t working; Consider the recent Jerusalem bombing; neither has trying to get rid of the Palestinians;

What they haven’t tried yet, is to live in peace as was the policy (pre-1948) which was successful.

Whether many years of bitterness and hostility and murder (both sides) can be forgiven, no one can predict.