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5000 people for Beit Sahour's Christmas tree PDF Print E-mail
Written by Latin Batriarchate Of Jerusalem   
Monday, 19 December 2011 00:00

A large crowd, more than 5,000 people gathered in Beit Sahour, Saturday, December 17th to inauguration its Christmas tree in a very festive atmosphere. Thanks to the present authorities, including the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Bishop Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem and the governor of Bethlehem, the tree ablazed with a thousand lights.

Many children and youngsters of Beit Sahour and Bethlehem schools marched up to the Christmas tree. To the sounds of drums and bagpipes, the crowd that had already gathered along the road and around the Church Square warmly welcomed the procession, of which a large group of scouts preceded the Officials.

 

A podium was erected in front of the church and by the end of the afternoon Christmas carols resonated in the city. The many foreigners, tourists and pilgrims joined in and intoned the different tunes known to all, including the famous Gloria in excelsis Deo.

The orchestra welcomed the political authorities in singing the anthem of Palestine. Then the mayor of Beit Sahour expressed his welcome to all and paid particular tribute to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, to the Governor of Bethlehem, to the Minister of Municipalities, to the Minister of prisoners, to members of the Legislative Council, to the Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem Bishop Shomali and to all the clergy present.

Bishop William Shomali reiterated the meaning of Christmas for the residents of Bethlehem in saying that: “Among all continents and countries, God freely chose to be born in Palestine; of all the villages of Palestine, he chose Bethlehem; amongst all the houses of Bethlehem, he chose a cave; of all women, he chose the Virgin Mary to become His Mother, and as He wanted to inform the ordinary people about the birth of the Saviour, he sent angels to the shepherds of Beit Sahour (Bethlehem)”. The Bishop encouraged his countrymen to keep the faith and simplicity of the shepherds, inasmuch as to love their country and remain faithful to it.

The Bishop welcomed the imminent release of prisoners in rejoicing with their parents and relatives. In this connection he said: “This surely is one of the blessings of Christmas.”

He further pointed out that the enlightened tree should symbolize our hope for a better world, for a future of peace and reconciliation in the whole region.

Bishop Shomali finally expressed the desire for free circulation of all individuals in the country without barrier, permission requirement or checkpoint.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that Christmas is not only a religious holiday but also a national one for all Palestinians, and he assessed that the values of Christ given to men are universal ones, and especially his call for peace and forgiveness. He voiced the will of Palestinians to have their own Free State and to live in peace with their Israeli neighbours.

Following these speeches, the Gospel of the Nativity of the Messiah was proclaimed and the authorities joined as one in lighting up the Christmas tree. It is in this good mood and hopeful joy that the festivities were concluded, singing a few carols again and being welcomed to the reception hosted by the parish of Beit Sahour.

Thomas Weber

 

Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2012 21:16
 

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