Later in the day, the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement and the YMCA/YWCA Joint Advocacy initiative organized a children's program. Laughing and dancing lasted for nearly two hours and then gifts were passed to the kids by Santa Clause. We all should remember that Jesus was born 2000 years ago in a humble manger. My ancestors, the Shepherds of Beit Sahour recognized the message of hope and acted on it. They and Jesus were Palestinians living under a foreign imperial occupation managed by local individuals who claimed religion and law. Herod killed the Children of Bethlehem to advance the agenda of hate. Jesus advanced the agenda of love. His family became refugees from tyranny (like millions of Palestinians today). Jesus challenged military occupation with non-violent resistance and chastised Pharisees and Sadducees for hypocrisy. He called for peace and helped the oppressed. This important child of Bethlehem is recognized by Christians, Muslims, and most of humanity (including atheists and agnostics) as a great teacher and a saviour. He taught all humanity that it is important to tell the truth and stand with the week and oppressed of this world. He taught by example. Palestinian Christians believe he became the first martyr for non-violent resistance to foreign occupation of Palestine. He said "let the children come to me" and implored us to believe in goodness in the same way that children do and then to ACT on our belief. Whether we are Christian or not, this is the message coming forth from Bethlehem this season and all the time.
If you are in the Bethlehem area let us get together and plan our actions for 2013 and beyond especially for the future of all children of our shared planet.
Tuesday/Today 4 PM Candle Light march for Palestine in Beit Sahour starting at the Shephetrds' Field followed by festival of Christmas with music etc.
Wednesday 6 PM: Service at the wall near Rachel Tomb area
Friday: At Izbet Tabib (near Qalqilia), Bilin, and other localities in Palestine, join marches against the apartheid wall
Bethlehem view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Video from the simulcast with the National Cathedral
"do not ask whom for the bells (of Bethlehem) toll, they toll for thee"