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Bethlehem skyline detail

We wish a merry Christmas to everyone celebrating by the Latin-rite calendar (or, if you prefer, the Revised Common Lectionary) and happy New Year to everyone living by the Gregorian calendar!

One amazing thing about living in Jerusalem is that you can celebrate Christmas three times: Catholics and Protestants, on the 25th (it’s something that draws us together, really); Greek, Syrian, Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox on the 6th of January (making a very busy schedule of processions and services at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity); and Armenians on the 18th of January. As for New Year, there are at least four different ‘New Year’ celebrations in the Jewish liturgical calendar: Rosh Hashanah (that’s the big one, in the fall, where the number of the year actually changes); Simchat Torah, when the liturgical reading cycle clicks around; Tu b’Shevat (the new year of the trees, in the spring); and Pesach (that’s a little weird, and we’ll have to remind Alana to explain it, but, yeah, Passover is also a new year celebration). There’s also a New Year for animals, but we’re not farmers, so we usually forget when it falls. Maybe we’ll try to remember if we ever get a cat.

Anyways, whatever you are celebrating and whenever you are celebrating it, we wish you all the best.

Kippah and Collar
(Alana and Mark)
Inside the Church of the Nativity

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