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Christmas Greetings from Bethlehem

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IPMN commends to your reading this message from our friend, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.

Please pay particular attention to the opportunity to join worshippers in Washington, D.C. and Palestine this Saturday, Dec. 19th.

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Special message from Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
 


The Hopes and Fears of all the years are met in Thee

This stanza from "O Little Town of Bethlehem" was true 2000 years ago, and is true in Bethlehem today. During the Christmas season, while the Palestinian community, comprising Christians and Muslims, was celebrating the lighting of the Christmas tree on manger square, young Palestinians, who were demonstrating their longing for freedom, were shot at, wounded, and some even killed by re-invading soldiers of the Israeli occupation. 

Two contradictory phenomena are so poignantly met in Bethlehem, as we continue to live between tear gas and Christmas ornaments, between shattered hopes and resilient faith.

Still living with both hopes and fears, we re-affirm our faith in the Child of Bethlehem, who came that we may have life and have it abundantly.
From the "Little town of Bethlehem" we wish you a merry Christmas and a blessed new year.




Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
Bethlehem, December 17th 2015
University Professor Wounded  
Rehab Nazzal, a professor at Bright Stars of Bethlehem supported Dar al-Kalima University, was shot in the leg by Israeli occupation forces in Bethlehem last Friday.

According to several newspaper articles, Nazzal, who is also an artist and researcher, has been documenting the disputes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli occupation forces since October. She was photographing and taking shelter from a military "Skunk" trunk -- a non-lethal weapon that sprays sewage-smelling chemicals -- when she was shot.
 
"I did not realize what had happened," said Nazzal in a statement. "The last image I photographed shows a sniper hiding on the ground near the entrance to one of the city's hotels."
 
An ambulance rushed to Nazzal's aid but was attacked by teargas grenades, suffocating both her and the paramedics assisting her. The cloud of gas also prevented other photographers and journalists from documenting the situation.
 
Please pray for Nazzal's continued healing and for all people throughout Palestine as we turn our attention especially this time of year to Bethlehem.
Worship with Bethlehem this  
Saturday, December 19
 
Join worshipers for the ninth annual joint simulcast Christmas service with the people of Bethlehem. Prayers, readings and hymns alternate between Washington, D.C., and Palestine via the Internet, bringing together people of different lands, languages and ethnic backgrounds in celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace.
 
To access the webcast, visit www.nationalcathedral.org on December 19 at 9am CST to join in this beautiful service of prayer and song live. 
 
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