“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2
The prophecy came true 2,000 years ago, and Bethlehem has for centuries been considered the birth place of Jesus Christ. Bethlehemites may not feel the importance of their city, but it is well known all over the world that Bethlehem is one of Christianity’s holiest places.
As Christmas is approaching, Bethlehem’s Catholic parish priest Rev. Fr. Marwan Deides along with the executive manager of the Catholic Action Bethlehem Saleh As-Sayeh had the idea of putting together a Christmas market. Quickly the idea flourished into the first Christmas Market held by the CAB.
Anyone can pay to rent a table at the market. Most of those renting tables were those Christians who are creative but have no outlet to sell their hand-made goods to the public. Others at the market have shops selling a variety of stock.
The purpose of the market is to sell Christmas goods at low prices to allow everybody, whatever their income, to prepare for the season.
Christmas cakes, cookies, decorations, table mats, chocolates and trees could be found at the market in addition to cosmetics, fashion accessories, toys and figures of the modern symbol of Christmas, Santa Claus.
Carols could be heard around the hall, adding to the Christmas spirit, and every child could buy an instant present for five shekels ($1.5).
One seller said she hoped the 7-day market would be a success, and would meet the needs of Christians in the city. She also hoped her hand-made goods would impress customers.
A customer leaving the market was certainly satisfied, remarking that she had bought all her Christmas decorations and presents at affordable prices.
As Helen Keller once said “the only blind person at Christmas time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.”
The Christmas market opened on Wednesday and will close its doors on Tuesday.