So a lot of things in Bethlehem were the same as other years in Bethlehem. There were a lot people selling balloons to children.And lots of Santa Clauses and people dressed like Santa Claus everywhere.
When we went to look at the big Creche in Manger Square we saw that a lot of parents wanted to take pictures of their children with Baby Jesus in the Creche.
So I had Kathy and Christopher take pictures of me in the Creche, too!
But for most Palestinian Christians like Christians all over the world Christmas is about remembering the birth of Jesus and spending time with your family, so they go to their churches for special services and then do a LOT of visiting. Sometimes like twelve visits a day! Christopher and Kathy and I went to the Christmas Lutheran Church. Kathy and I really like the services there, which are in German, English and Arabic. This year, they moved to a bigger room in the Fellowship Hall, but dozens of people still ended up having to stand. They did the sending words in a bunch of different languages.Then we all sang “Silent Night” in our own languages and lit candles. I took a picture of Christopher and Kathy after the service.
Christopher went out to dinner with some people who are working for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, but Kathy was tired, so she walked back to the house of her friends, Issa and Diana, where she usually stays over Christmas. The square looked different after dark!