Today we plan to visit the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Beit Jala. Returning to Bethlehem, we will meet with local Israeli and Palestinian organizations before enjoying dinner in Bethlehem. This evening we will have the unique opportunity to celebrate Christmas with our Armenian brothers and sisters as we witness their Christmas Eve procession to Manger Square. We will return to our Bethlehem hotel for overnight. (B, D)
Colorful pictures on Facebook.
Our entire group split into two to experience the two opportunities mentioned above. Susan and I chose to stay in Bethlehem, and observe the procession of the Armenian patriarch through the city streets. Gates were erected, guards were attentive, and we had a front row seat at a local café. Scores of scouts marched through the streets, either drumming or trumpeting their way through Manger Square. We happily watched the crowds, enjoying a slower paced day.
It was a good thing, as I fell ill around noon. We think it was a touch of the flu, but it took me down for the rest of the day. Susan took great care of me as I rested and nibbled what I could. I'm sad to be missing the final dinner together, but knew I had best rest my body before a full day tomorrow, followed immediately by a 15 hour flight back to California. Keep praying this passes...and Susan stays healthy!