Little Town of Bethlehem

On December 27, 2013 twenty-four persons will leave for a peace and justice immersion in Israel and the West Bank of the occupied Palestinian territories. Most in the group are Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary students. Some are alum of the school and two are faculty members. All are curious to see first-hand what it is like for Palestinians to live under apartheid and to meet with Israeli’s who are working to change the situation. This blog is to record some of the group’s reactions and reflections.

At this time were still in the season of Advent and in a few days all our attention will be given to the “little town of Bethlehem.” As a group of pilgrims and travelers our group from G-ETS will stand in Manger Square in Bethlehem and experience Orthodox Christmas. Bethlehem is not so “little” any more. Neither is it very “still” or noted for much “deep and dreamless sleep.” More recently it is a place of a great deal of frustration and turmoil. While it may not always be a place of peace it still remains where many “hopes and fears” can be found, hopes for peace and fears of war; hopes for justice and fears of oppression; hopes for thriving and fears of destitution. As we think about modern Bethlehem it is a good time to ask, “What are our hopes and fears for Bethlehem? For ourselves?”