Bethlehem Church’s Nativity Scene Redesigned in Response to Israel-Hamas Conflict

From the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, the birthplace of Jesus Christ isn’t exactly the most peaceful part of the world at the moment. One church in Bethlehem is responding to the tragedy in their own special way. Bethlehem, just a short distance away from Jerusalem, has relied on tourism in recent years. This year is different – even traditional Christmas is canceled in Bethlehem. Fox News reports that just weeks before Christmas, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem unveiled a new display of the nativity scene that shows baby Jesus lying in a manger amid rubble. The imagery symbolizes the destroyed Palestinian communities in Gaza and the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas terror group, a church official said.

Reverend Doctor Munther Isaac, the church’s pastor, told The New Arab that the church families met last week and built it together, and it was a moving experience for their families. During the service on Sunday, some people were in tears. Many Christians have already been killed by Israeli bombing. Israeli outlets have also reported this week that an Israeli sniper shot and killed a Christian mother and daughter who were sheltering from the war in the Holy Family Parish in Gaza. The killings were condemned by Pope Francis as “terrorism.” Bethlehem has no visitors this year, and pilgrims are not coming to Bethlehem this year because of the war. Messages from the church have received significant attention and responses through social media and media in general. Our hearts go to Bethlehem in this difficult time.