Christians Flock to Bethlehem

    BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK - DECEMBER 25: Foud Twal, the Latin Patriarch of the Holy Land, holds the Baby Jesus in Saint Catherine's Church at the end of the Christmas Midnight Mass and walks in procession to the 'Grotto', where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, in the adjacent Church of the Nativity on December 25, 2012 in Bethlehem, West Bank. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Church of the Nativity this week to worship at the sacred site believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. (Photo by Abed Al Hashlamoun-Pool/Getty Images)

    Pool photo by Abed Al Hashlamoun

    While most of us spend the holiday traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, many Christians from all over the world flocked to Bethlehem’s Manger Square Tuesday to celebrate the holy day in the ancient West Bank town where Jesus was born. Cold, damp weather didn’t deter the thousands who waited in line near the Church of the Nativity complex to see the grotto that is Jesus’ traditional birthplace. The Palestinian tourism ministry predicts 10,000 foreigners will visit Bethlehem on Christmas Day, while 15,000 visited Christmas Eve—up 20 percent from last year.

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