Tags: Israel | christmas | jesus | bethlehem

Worshippers Rejoice in Jesus' Bethlehem Birthplace

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Pilgrims celebrated Christmas Day Mass Tuesday in the ancient Bethlehem church where tradition holds Jesus was born, candles illuminating the sacred site and joyous prayer filling its halls.

Worshippers lined up Tuesday inside the fourth-century Church of the Nativity complex, waiting to see the grotto that is Jesus' traditional birthplace.

Duncan Hardock, a 24-year-old teacher from McLean, Va., says he got to see "both sides of Bethlehem" as he arrived at Manger Square after passing through the separation barrier Israel built to ward off West Bank attackers.

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Pilgrims celebrated Christmas Day Mass Tuesday in the ancient Bethlehem church where tradition holds Jesus was born, candles illuminating the sacred site and joyous prayer filling its halls.
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