Christmas Eve Message from Bethlehem

The congregation gathers together--in pews, on the floor, in the balcony, and at the back, to hear the Christmas Eve message at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.

BETHLEHEM/JERUSALEM, 4 January 2012 – Just as Mary and Joseph had difficulties finding room in Bethlehem so long ago, it looked as though worshippers at the Christmas Eve service at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem would have difficulties finding places to sit this year as more and more visitors kept arriving. But the congregation welcomed everyone in for the service, inviting people to line the aisle sitting on the floor, to stand in the balcony and to fill in the space behind the pews at the back. And, despite the crowded space, all stayed to worship and share the Christmas Gospel together in Arabic, German, and English.

As the Christmas Season draws to a close and we approach the season of Epiphany and beyond. As the New Year dawns and we set new goals and make new resolutions. As we continue to wait and work in hope for the fullness of reconciliation, redemption, and wholeness. We invite you to continue to carry the message of Christmas with you this year as we remember:

“Christmas is about welcoming Jesus into our midst, as we welcome the least among us, as we show hospitality to the stranger, for then we may discover that we have been entertaining angels unawares, or even God’s own son.”

– Rev. Fred Strickert, from his Christmas Eve Sermon

Click here or on the photo above to view more photos from the Christmas Eve service.

Click here to watch a video of the Christmas Gospel proclaimed in English, German, and Arabic.

Click here to read the Christmas Eve Sermon Rev. Fred Strickert shared with those gathered.

Christmas hope and faith in the Holy Land

Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem

Worshippers sang “Silent Night” and carried candles as they marched from Christmas Lutheran Church to the International Center of Bethlehem along the city’s ancient cobblestone streets.

Preaching at the Christmas Eve service was Dr. Uwe Gräbe, propst of the the German-speaking congregation of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem.  Also presiding at the service were Bishop Munib Younan, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb and Rev. Mark Holman.