Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 30

The last 24 hours here in Bethlehem have been very interesting. Beginning yesterday afternoon, I noticed that there were lots of people in the streets and they had even blocked off traffic. I also noticed that there were many license plates from Israel and that was unusual. Today, Bethlehem looks like a ghost town. It turns out that today is a major Muslim holy day. Yesterday was a big shopping day to buy presents for a traditional gift exchange. It was also the day that all the Muslims needed to buy some sheep for a big dinner today. The store owner here said that sheep are cheaper in Bethlehem so that’s why all the cars from Jerusalem were in town. All I know is that the streets were way more packed yesterday night then they were on Christmas. It was kind of a carnival atmosphere. Today, everyone is home with their families and the shops are all closed. Fortunately, the restaurant where I go to access the Internet is a Christian store so they are open.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and we will be celebrating with the Christian Brothers at Bethlehem University. We can’t party too late because the next morning we get up and head to Galilee. I have spent many a New Year’s Eve playing Cribbage with my dad, so I am happy that we have a Cribbage board with us here. We’ve got quite a number of guys who play now, so this New Year’s tradition will continue. I don’t know if I’ll be able to update my blog tomorrow and I have no idea what to expect in Galilee. So, this may be the last post for a while. I write my entries each night before bed, so I will update you with all the details of Galilee just as soon as I have internet again. Happy New year!

As a little Christmas bonus, click below for a video tour of the cave where Jesus was born.

Tour of the Cave of the Nativity

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