At this time of every year, the whole world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ with shining lights, Christmas carols, colors and winter coziness. And, with the Christ being born in the little town of Bethlehem, this town has a unique essence of celebration and spirit.The Palestinian Christmas season, this year, aimed to deliver the message of Jesus Christ: Love and Justice, under the slogan ‘All I want For Christmas Is Justice’. The theme is a perfect fit for the situation, since Palestinians can barely breathe under the Israeli occupation.

Still, every single shop, house and corner in Bethlehem was decorated and elegantly lightened by Christmas lights.

Christmas shops thrived all over the city; selling traditional embroidery, wine, coffee, barbecues, garments and more, starting from the ‘starry’ star street, to the little neighborhoods of the old city, and ending in Manger Square where a huge tree was set, and people gathered.

On Christmas Eve, Scout parades marched between the crowds with their drums and clarinets, wearing their scout uniforms and spreading the joyous spirit, in addition to music bands that chanting in Manger Square, and beautiful young women walking around wearing the Palestinian traditional dress (Thaub) and its accessories.

Bethlehem was ready to welcome Patriarch Fouad Twal, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, to head midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity.

Mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun extended warm wishes of a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all people.

‘We wish everyone a happy new year from the city of peace.

‘We call again that the city of peace does not live peace, and is threatened by the construction of the new wall,’ Baboun said.

‘In Bethlehem, Jesus Christ was born, and he said: I’m the gate for salvation. [John 10:9], but, unfortunately, on the northern borders there is another gate, another world. There is a world of discrimination and a wall of oppression.’

Continue reading at the Palestinian News Network.