Christmas is Cancelled in the Holy Land

Dec 7, 2023


Christmas in Palestine is cancelled this year. Yes, you heard that correctly. All Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land have been cancelled due to the ongoing war in Gaza. The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches made the right decision highlighted in their latest Statement on the Celebration of Advent and Christmas in the Midst of the War.

We at the Bethlehem Development Foundation (BDF) and the American Friends of the Bethlehem Development Foundation (AFBDF), a U.S. 501c (3) organization dedicated to the development of the Holy Region of Bethlehem, and the restoration of the Church of the Nativity, are standing in solidarity with Christians throughout the Middle East who have cancelled Christmas celebrations due the devastating conditions faced by Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.

From the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where Jesus Christ was born, we are calling on the world to join us in our Prayer for Peace. From Bethlehem, we send a message of hope, love, and peace amidst the grave reality of war, sadness, and loss of life.

Bethlehem is worth the effort to visit, but if you can’t be there this year, we are bringing Bethlehem to you. We invite you to join our exhibit in the United States about the very place Jesus was born. Bethlehem Reborn Palestine: The Wonders of the Nativity, a multimedia exhibition that shares the artistic beauty, the historical significance, and the spiritual message of the Church of the Nativity. Bethlehem Reborn is presently at the Museum of the Bible, in Washington, D.C., from November 6, 2023, until April 28, 2024.

With this exhibition, and during this Christmas season, where Palestinians are unable to celebrate, we stand strong to focus on the spiritual message of Christmas, that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem to bring the message of Good News and Peace on Earth. 

Bethlehem Reborn Palestine: The Wonders of the Nativity Exhibition

The Museum of the Bible in collaboration with the American Friends of Bethlehem Development FoundationBethlehem Development Foundation and the Embassy of Palestine to the Holy See presents a custom version of the exhibition Bethlehem Reborn Palestine The Wonders of the Nativity.

The exhibition has been at the Vatican Museums, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, the World Council of Churches headquarters in Geneva, and a dozen other locations in Europe.

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine marks birthplace of Jesus. For centuries, the Faithful worshipped at the church that was both their local church and a place that welcomed pilgrims from around the world. Over time, however, the building needed extensive repairs. In 2008 President Mahmoud Abbas initiated the restoration of the Church of the Nativity with the blessing of the three custodians of the Church; the Greek Orthodox, the Custody of the Holy Land and the Orthodox Armenian Church. In 2010, extensive studies to design and carry out a scientific restoration project were conducted. From 2013 to 2020 restoration works were carried out to bring the church to its former glory. This exhibition examines the history of the church and highlights its remarkable rebirth. 

American Friends of the Bethlehem Foundation

The American Friends of the Bethlehem Development Foundation (AFBDF) is a 501 c(3) U.S. non-profit dedicated to the development of the Holy Region of Bethlehem, and the restoration of the Church of the Nativity where Jesus Christ was born.

AFBDF was formally launched in 2018 as an American non-profit to support the efforts of the Bethlehem Development Foundation (BDF). 

Bethlehem Development Foundation

BDF’s mission is to create a sustainable economy and infrastructure for Bethlehem, and to enable the Holy City to sparkle as a peaceful beacon and unique spiritual center of the world for pilgrims of all faiths.

The development of Bethlehem is essential in reviving the birthplace of Jesus Christ and in making this Holy Region a top travel destination, where pilgrims and tourists alike spend quality time, rather than merely passing through.