The Light of Christ Shines in Bethlehem Today

  “Do not be afraid; for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy … today in the city of David a Savior is born for you” (Lk 2:10-11). The message of Christ’s coming, brought from heaven by the voice of angels, continues to echo in this town, just as it echoes in families, homes and communities throughout the world. It is “good news”, the angels say “for all the people”. It proclaims that the Messiah, the Son of God and the Son of David, has been born “for you”: for you and me, and for men and women in every time and place. In God’s plan, Bethlehem, “least among the clans of Judah” (Mic 5:2), has become a place of undying glory: the place where, in the fullness of time, God chose to become man, to end the long reign of sin and death, and to bring new and abundant life to a world which had grown old, weary and oppressed by hopelessness. 
  For men and women everywhere, Bethlehem is associated with this joyful message of rebirth, renewal, light and freedom. Yet here, in our midst, how far this magnificent promise seems from being realized! How distant seems that Kingdom of wide dominion and peace, security, justice and integrity which the Prophet Isaiah heralded in the first reading (cf. Is 9:7), and which we proclaim as definitively established in the coming of Jesus Christ, Messiah and King! 
  Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily at Mass in Manger SquareWednesday, 13 May 2009, city of Bethlehem
Excerpts taken from the LP website,
  “The whole world is preparing to celebrate Christmas. Yet no place on earth is as special as Bethlehem, the Palestinian city that was blessed and chosen by God to be the birthplace of the messenger of peace and love, that great event that marked the beginning of the Christian era.” 
 Bethlehem by night glitters with Christmas lights…  
  Yasser Arafat  Gaza, August 1998
Quoted in  Bethlehem 2000, c. 1998 by Mitri Raheb
   Bethlehem University
by night glitters with
Christmas lights…

Sources:– Photos by Mary Morcos Van Teeffelen.