"Peace on earth and good will to all". That's what we read in Scripture. After more than 2000 years since, what happened to that peace. It's not in the frustratedArabs who have to go through the checkpoint twice a day to go to work and back home.
It's not felt by the tourists who are pestered by taxi drivers and children trying to sell their items. It's not felt by the Christians who are being driven out of Bethlehem by the Muslims. But, as I watched people leave mass today at the Catholic Church by the Manger Church, they were all so happy as a community of disciples. There seemed to be hope for the future. I'm sure that they feel so close to Christ by being right next to the place where Christ was born.
The new born Christ was born here. At the time he was born, there were probably only 200 people living in the town of Bethlehem. Remember, "O, Little Town of Bethlehem". Even now, Bethlehem is has only about 25,000 people.
The birth place which we call a stable was really a cave connected to a home to keep it cool during the summer and to hold animals in the night. Most Palestinian people are very hospitable people. Even today, I doubt if a Palestinian would turn away someone who needed a place to stay. Something like this marvelous birth had never happened before. But every newborn was a blessing to this town. But this child was special. The lowly smelly shepherds realized it. That's why the Manger Church carries in this statue of the new born child at Midnight Mass and celebrates with a new a new hope.
A hope for peace. Let's pray for peace especially in the troubled Mideast.