JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — With war raging on multiple fronts and no end in sight, I’ve been asked some interesting questions by people around the world in recent weeks.
Are any Israelis or Palestinians going to be celebrating Christmas this year?
Are media reports that officials in Bethlehem and Nazareth have actually canceled Christmas really true, or is that fake news?
And what about Israel’s Messianic Jews?
Do any of the estimated 15,000 to 30,000 Messianic believers who believe that Jesus is, in fact, our long awaited Messiah, Savior and Lord actually celebrate the historic tradition marking His virgin birth in the little town of Bethlehem, just outside of Jerusalem?
What about the rest of the Israeli people, do any of them find Christmas interesting, much less significant?
And Joel, do you and your wife celebrate Christmas in Israel?
I’m so grateful for these questions and I recently addressed them on the “Inside The Epicenter,” the podcast that we host for The Joshua Fund.
This holiday season, I hope you’ll listen and share the podcast with family and friends as you continue to pray for “peace on earth and good will towards men.”
Here’s the description of the program from the podcast producer:
In this compelling episode of Inside The Epicenter, Joel Rosenberg delves into the topic of Christmas in the epicenter and the spiritual significance of the holiday in Israel.
Joel shares the experiences of he and his wife Lynn, including hosting Christmas parties and explaining the significance of Christmas to their Israeli neighbors.
In addition to the challenges faced by Israelis due to the ongoing war, Joel discusses the spiritual battle between God and Satan over the Jewish people and the land of Israel, emphasizing the importance of being under the care and protection of the Good Shepherd, Jesus.
The episode also highlights the work of The Joshua Fund in providing humanitarian relief and support, calling for prayer and action to address the needs in the Epicenter.
Join us as we explore the spiritual and cultural significance of Christmas in Israel.
(00:05) Israeli Christians subdued in celebration amid conflict.
(07:03) Messianic Jews don't celebrate Christmas for cultural reasons.
(11:24) Welcoming neighbors with Christmas parties and traditions.
(14:53) Specific Bethlehem in Judea is a significant prophecy.
(17:41) Christmas celebration based on biblical prophecy fulfillment.
(21:19) Israel sees growth in Jewish followers of Jesus.
(24:00) Sadness and despair in Israel in 2023.
(29:00) Be a light, serve a purpose, and bring hope.
(31:34) Founders are passionate about supporting Israel and her neighbors.
(38:14) Spend time with believers to share Jesus' gift.
In 2022, 80,000 Israelis watched the Nazareth Christmas Parade as Arab Evangelicals marched and gave presents to children.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.