…little town of Bethlehem….

Reposting from 20013, Nada Atrash’s moving memoir of her childhood’s Bethlehem at Christmas.

Passages Home Blog

Pen drawing of Bethlehem by Jan van Scorel, 1520. (Photo:British Museum) Pen drawing of Bethlehem by Jan van Scorel, 1520. (Photo:British Museum)

This evening, all across what used to be called the Holy Land, Christmas celebrations will be held in ancient, weathered churches.   The most emblematic of these celebrations will, no doubt, be the one held in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem itself.

I was born in Bethlehem, as strange as those words sound here, in Boston, so far away from the original site of the Christian story, this Anglo Christianity so foreign to the way we celebrated the three Christmases in our part of the world.  As Nada Atrash writes in the essay below, tonight marks the first of these three Christmases–the English, the Greek, and the Armenian.  And though my Christmas is almost a month away–January 19–tonight opens onto a path back to childhood memories when the words Holy Land carried a strangely sweet, innocent meaning.


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About Taline Voskeritchian

Writing teacher at Boston University; translator (from Arabic and Armenian); prose writer; occasional editor; incurable wanderer.
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