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Bethlehem Returns to Peace at Christmas

All together now, folks…. say it with me:  “It is all George Bush’s fault!”

Christmas Cheer Returns to Bethlehem – Associated Press

Hundreds of Christian pilgrims celebrated Jesus’ birth on Tuesday in the West Bank town where he was born, in an atmosphere made markedly cheerier by the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after years of bloody conflict.

By midday, the ancient Church of the Nativity was packed with tourists waiting in line to see the grotto that marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The visit to Bethlehem was a first for Kiel Tilley, 23, a science teacher from Charlevoix, Mich.

“It’s very powerful and meaningful to me,” Tilley said. “It’s very moving to visit a place which I always read about in the Bible.”

The relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a U.S.-sponsored conference last month reassured him before his trip, he said.

“I’m always in fear something would happen,” Tilley said. “But the peace process made me feel safer.”

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2007

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In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.  This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’i-us was governor of Syria.  And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.  

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  

And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.  And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

(Luke 2:1-14)

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I’d like to add one thought this year as an addendum to last year’s Christmas Day posting, which is one of my favorite Biblical passages by the way.  When I was growing up in rural Pennsylvania, my Mom and I attended a very historic old Episcopal Church.   At the end of every Christmas Eve midnight service, our vicar used to read another favorite Biblical passage of mine.  He would read it by solo candlelight as the rest of the church was dark.  When he closed the Bible, he would begin to light all of the rest of the candles in the church as his wife sang a lovely rendition of “Silent Night” as the church slowly lit up.

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