Live After Quit

“No Christmas in Bethlehem: War in Gaza Cancels Holiday Celebrations

Christmas promises a time of peace, joy, and celebration, particularly for the Lord’s birthplace of Bethlehem. This year, however, residents of Bethlehem and its neighboring areas of the West Bank are mourning the loss of their Christmas holiday as a fierce war ravages nearby Gaza. The recent conflict erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants on May 10th, with both sides showing no sign of a ceasefire. As of now, more than 230 people have been killed, with more than 100 of them reported to be unarmed civilians, including children. The daily lives of people living in Bethlehem have been heavily affected by the war, leaving them in a desperate and uncertain situation. One woman said, “We had to evacuate our home and now we’re living in a tent. We’re facing cold winter nights, electricity shortage, and we don’t even have enough food for our children. We don’t know when this will end.” The intense military operations have also been a direct obstacle to the commencement of Christmas festivities. With tensions running high between Israeli and Palestinian forces, and, in Bethlehem, tanks rolling down its cobblestone streets, Christmas celebrations have become virtually impossible. Officials said that the war has effectively cancelled Christmas in Bethlehem. The bells of the Church of the Nativity, the supposed birthplace of Jesus, normally peal on Christmas Eve. This year, however, the church remains silent. Not a single celebratory light hung from its arches, and few gathered around its entrance. The war has had an enormous psychological impact on the residents of Bethlehem. In addition to losing their Christmas celebrations, many have been forced to flee their homes, witnessing intense explosions and shootings. This year, instead of celebrating the holiday with Christmas decorations, caroling, and gift-giving, Bethlehem’s residents are dealing with the harsh and devastating effects of the war, creating an atmosphere of hopelessness for the future. As people around the world are celebrating Christmas, with its promises of peace and goodwill, people in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas are hoping that this same peace and goodwill will come to them soon and that they may soon enjoy their Christmas, as it was meant to be enjoyed.