Church in Palestine uses debris to decorates Christmas tree

In a powerful expression of solidarity, a Palestine church in Bethlehem, located in the occupied West Bank, has opted for a unique and meaningful decoration this Christmas season. In response to Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza, the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church has chosen to use debris instead of a traditional Christmas tree.

The pastor of the church, Munzir Ishak, explained the reasoning behind this decision. “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,” he stated emphatically.

Unlike the festive and vibrant decorations seen in many streets and cities around the world during the Christmas season, churches in occupied Palestine tread a different path. Here, Christmas celebrations are more introspective and focused on prayers and divine rituals.

Instead of a Christmas tree, the church in Bethlehem has created a thought-provoking decoration that embodies the destruction seen in Gaza. The decoration includes a mound made of concrete pieces around an olive sapling, and in its’ center a toy baby is placed to evoke an infant trapped under debris. Around this wreckage, broken tree branches, various icons, and candles are arranged, creating a visual representation of the harsh reality faced by the people of Palestine.


Pastor Ishak emphasized that this decoration serves as a message to 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 affirmed.

He also intended to send a message to churches worldwide, stating, “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.” The Christian clergy in Palestine believe that the recent attacks on Gaza have dimmed the Christmas spirit.

Christians worldwide are known to visit Bethlehem in late December and visit the Church of the Nativity, built over the cave where the Virgin Mary is said to gave birth to Jesus, paying homage to their faith and the traditions associated with the holiday. It’s sad to see what a place which many hold dear is going through.

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