Today, December 6th, we have but nineteen days left until Christmas, the day that Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Christ. In churches across the world, Christians will be singing
"Oh Little Town of Bethlehem":
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie;
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
Yet somehow, most church goers have a romantic vision of Bethlehem, that it was brought to light by Christ's birth, that celebrations must go on there, pilgrims make their way there, and it is the most "holy" of places.
The facts could not be further from the truth for Bethlehem today. Surrounded by the wall that Israel has erected, the wall that encroached into what is Palestinian land and which was said by Vice Premier Haim Ramon to be the Israel/West Bank border
(which goes to prove that the wall was fully intended to make "facts on the ground")
Bethlehem is a walled city, not romantic or "holy" in any manner at all.
I came across this article below about nativity scenes made by Palestinian olive wood artists which are more realistic in nature. Christians like to ask, "What would Jesus do?" I ask, what SHOULD Christians do when faced with the fact that their romantic notions of the town which gave birth to Christ has been made in to a virtual prison by a wall that has been deemed illegal let alone immoral. Do we go on singing "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem"? Or do we put our Christian ethics to WORK to bring the TRUE facts of what is Bethlehem today?
But I say to all Christians, this is NOT just about the town of Bethlehem, this is about the ENTIRE Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza being sealed off, choked, deprived of economic resources, deprived of free movement, deprived of HUMANITY.
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them"
Nativity Scene Modified to Make Political Point
By Kevin McCandless
December 07, 2007
London (CNSNews.com) - A British charity is giving the traditional nativity scene a political twist this year by dividing it with a wall symbolizing Israel's controversial security barrier.
The Amos Trust, a Christian group that works with needy communities around the world, is selling what it calls a nativity set with a difference -- one where "the wise men won't get to the stable."
Organizers say the purpose of the sets -- made by Palestinian carpenters with olive wood from Bethlehem -- is to draw attention to the security measures put in place by the Israeli government.
The network of walls and fences being built between Israeli and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of the West Bank runs along the perimeter of Bethlehem, dividing it from nearby Jerusalem. Travel in and out of the town is heavily restricted.
The nativity scenes are available in a small version, for around $30, and a larger set -- "perfect for a church" -- goes for around $115. The wall in the larger version is detachable, the Amos Trust says, to allow for the possibility the situation may change in the future.
Garth Hewitt, director of the Amos Trust, said Wednesday his group wants to use the wooden sets to make people aware of what is happening, including how the Christian population of Bethlehem is rapidly shrinking
HERE is the link to the Amos Trust which is selling these nativity scenes. It states they are currently sold out but are awaiting another shipment. That is a GOOD sign.
A nativity set with a difference - this year the wise men won't get to the stable.
The Campaigners Christmas gift:- poignant, ironic and made in Bethlehem.
Available in two sizes
£12.00- smaller version (featured)- 15 cm (long)x 9 cm(wide) x 9 cm(high). (There is an additional charge of £2.50 for postage and packing)
£50.00 - larger version - perfect for a church - complete with a detachable separation barrier that can be replaced by a more traditional stable. (There is an additional charge of £7.00 for postage and packing)
Currently sold out of both sizes - we are waiting for further supplies to come in from Bethlehem.
If you would like us to try to reserve one for you call 0207 588 2661 or e mail Sarah at the Amos office and we will be in touch when our supplies come in.
THIS is the link to the "Bethlehem Pack" (pdf) which contains prayers, meditations and MUCH more which reflects the current state in Bethlehem and what we SHOULD be praying for and ACTING on.
UPDATE: Read Christian Peacemaker's Team "No Way to the Inn" THANK YOU CLO for the tip!!
And this video is set to the song "They've Canceled Christmas in Bethlehem" by Garth Hewitt
(which can be downloaded off the Amos Trust site)