Life is not good for the Christians of Bethlehem, where Jesus Christ was born.
It has gone from being a 100% Christian town in 1948 to 30% and dropping in 2006. The town’s Christian population has dwindled from more than 85 per cent in 1948 to 12 per cent of its 60,000 inhabitants in 2006. (source via LGF) No longer a symbol of sleepy peacefulness, it has become a symbol of the oppression of Christians. Despite frequent claims in the press that the Christians of Bethlehem are persecuted by Israel, the truth is that the “conditions of Christians in Bethlehem and its surroundings had deteriorated ever since the area was handed over to the PA in 1995.” (source)
Fuad and Georgette Lama woke up one morning last September
to discover that Muslims from a nearby village had fenced off their family’s six-dunam plot in the Karkafa suburb south of Bethlehem. “A lawyer and an official with the Palestinian Authority just came and took our land,” said 69-year-old Georgette Lama.
The couple was later approached by senior PA security
officers who offered to help them kick out the intruders from the land. “We paid them $1,000 so they could help us regain our land,” she said, almost in tears. “Instead of giving us back our land, they simply decided to keep it for themselves. They even destroyed all the olive trees and divided the land into small plots, apparently so that they could offer each for sale.” When her 72-year-old husband, Fuad, went to the land to ask the intruders to leave, he was severely beaten and threatened with guns.
“My husband is after heart surgery and they still beat him,”
Georgette Lama said. “These people have no heart. We’re afraid to go to our land because they will shoot at us. Ever since the beating, my husband is in a state of trauma and has difficulties talking.”
The Lamas have since knocked on the doors of scores of PA
officials in Bethlehem seeking their intervention, but to no avail. At one stage, they sent a letter to Abbas, who promised to launch an investigation.
“We heard that President Mahmoud Abbas is taking our case
very seriously,” said Georgette Lama. “But until now he hasn’t done anything to help us get our land back. We are very concerned because we’re not the only ones suffering from this phenomenon. Most Christians are afraid to speak, but I don’t care because we have nothing more to lose.” (source)
Think about this the next time you sing or hear the hymn.
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.
Where children pure and happy pray to the blessèd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
h/t: Pajamas Media