During the past twenty years Bethlehem has gone from being a nominally Christian Arab town to having a Muslim majority, with much Islamist persecution and harassment of the Christians. Many Christians have left.
The name Benjamin means son of my right hand.
Micah 5:2-5a (ESV)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days. . . .
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.
Our Heavenly Father,
Benjamin was born, and Rachel died on the way to Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and the holy innocents died at the hand of Herod.
We thank You that Jesus has conquered death and is now seated at Your right hand. Bethlehem means house of bread, and Jesus is the Bread of Life.
We pray that Jesus will be born in the hearts of the Muslims in Bethlehem. May they recognize a holy difference in their Christian neighbors and be drawn to the Light. May signs and wonders follow the testimony of Jesus. May Muslims in Bethlehem encounter Jesus in dreams and visions.
May Bethlehem become a house of life. We bless the land of Bethlehem. We bless the residents of Bethlehem. We bless the government of Bethlehem. Amen.