For the first time in years, a cheerful Christmas in Bethlehem

Merry Christmas, everyone…

From the Associated Press

BETHLEHEM, West Bank: Encouraged by renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Christian pilgrims from around the world converged on Jesus’ traditional birthplace Monday to celebrate Christmas — a palpable contrast to the sparse crowds of recent years.The diverse mix of people included festive American tourists, clergymen in brown flowing robes and Palestinian scouts wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.”I’m Catholic. I always wanted to see the beginning of Christianity, the whole history. It’s something you grow up with,” said Kristin Obeck, a 37-year-old schoolteacher from Richmond, Va.

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