CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM.
BY EDWIN S. WALLACE.
[Originally published in the December, 1896, issue of ST. NICHOLAS. Please note that ST. NICHOLAS was intended as a magazine for children (from the very young to teenagers) and you should expect some of the writing to seem a bit cute or simple.]
DURING the Christmas season, when the thoughts of the civilized world turn to Bethlehem, many will wonder how the people there keep this greatest religious holiday. Very few American children can ever visit the little city among the Judean hills. Yet a number of travelers from America and Europe come to the Holy Land every year, and possibly some ST. NICHOLAS readers may be among those who on this Christmas day will crowd the streets of the little city nestled among its fig-trees and olive-orchards.
VIEW OF BETHLEHEM. THE BUILDING ON THE LEFT IS THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY.
It is a little city, and it does not take many people to crowd it; but, besides being the birthplace of Jesus, it is the birthplace of Israel’s great warrior-king, David.
Bethlehem to-day has barely eight thousand inhabitants, and in appearance is not attractive. The streets are too narrow for vehicles; in fact, there is but one street in the town wide enough for carriages, and it is so very narrow that they cannot pass each other in it. The streets were made for foot travelers, donkeys, and camels.
Bethlehem is about five miles south of Jerusalem. Leaving the larger city by the Jaffa gate, we take a carriage and ride rapidly over the fine road built but a few years ago. The carriage we are in and those we meet are wretched
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REMEMBER: Peoples' attitudes toward race, religion, and culture were a lot different when this was written! The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of TravelHistory.org or of Hidden Knowledge, Publishers.