Publish date5 Dec 2023 - 20:32
Story Code : 617045

Church in Palestine decorates Christmas tree using debris due to Israel’s attack on Gaza

A church in the occupied West Bank's historic city of Bethlehem prepared a decoration for this year's Christmas using debris instead of a Christmas tree in response to Israel's attacks on Gaza.
Church in Palestine decorates Christmas tree using debris due to Israel’s attack on Gaza

"While genocide is being committed against our people in Gaza, we cannot celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this year in any way. We don't feel like celebrating.," the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem's pastor Munzir Ishak told Anadolu.
While streets in the Christian world are brightly decorated and cities are illuminated during Christmas, churches in occupied Palestine refrain from extravagant festive activities, limiting Christmas celebrations to prayers and divine rituals.
Thus, instead of decorating a Christmas tree this year, the church opted for a decoration made from debris symbolizing the destruction in Gaza.
The decoration includes a mound made of concrete pieces around an olive sapling, and in the center of this mound, a toy baby is placed to evoke an infant trapped under debris.
Around this wreckage, broken tree branches, various icons, and candles are arranged.
Ishak said featuring the wreckage decoration instead of Christmas decorations in the church is a message for themselves and the world.
"Our message to ourselves is this: God is with us in this pain. Christ was born in solidarity with those in pain and suffering. God is with the oppressed," he said.
"Secondly, we wanted to tell churches worldwide: 'Unfortunately, Christmas in Palestine is like this.' Whether Christian or Muslim, this is the situation we are going through in Palestine. We are exposed to a genocide war targeting all Palestinians. Unfortunately, when we think of the birth of Baby Christ, we think of the babies brutally killed in Gaza," he added.
The Christian clergy highlighted that Israel's attack on Gaza has "killed the Christmas spirit."
Christians from around the world visit the city of Bethlehem at the end of December each year to celebrate Christmas, believing it to be the birthplace of Jesus.
Visitors to the city come to the Church of the Nativity, built over a cave believed to be where the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ.
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