Bethlehem Church Alters Nativity Scene in Solidarity with Gaza
– Mohammed Atherulla Shariff
Dec. 14: Munther Isaac, Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church Pastor has announced that “this year, the Christmas celebrations are canceled in Bethlehem for obvious reasons. It is impossible to celebrate while our people in Gaza are going through a genocide. When children are being massacred in such a brutal manner.”
He further said, “All the heads of churches in Jerusalem decided that the Christmas celebrations will be mainly prayers with no festive celebrations. We thought of what does meaning of Christmas have for us as Palestinians and what message do we want to send to the world about the meaning of Christmas today? So we came up with this idea of a manger in the midst of a rubble, resembling a destroyed house in Gaza, and the child, Jesus as a child was under the rubble.
“We have seen so many images of children being pulled out of rubble. And to us, this is a message that Jesus identifies with our suffering. He is in solidarity with those suffering. So it is a message of comfort and hope to us. But it is also a message to the world that this is what Christmas looks like in Bethlehem. This is what Christmas looks like in Palestine, with occupation, with destruction, with the bombardment of the children. While the world is celebrating, our children are under the rubble. While the world is celebrating, our families are displaced and their homes are destroyed. This is Christmas to us in Palestine.”