It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. With just under one month away from the most celebrated holiday of the year, we are in this article going to dive into how the holy land prepares and celebrates Christmas.

By Amy-Leigh Idas

Updated December 1, 2022.

Christmas in Jerusalem Israel Holy Land

There are several key and significant cities in Israel that had a large historical role in the life of Jesus. In this article, we will take a look at 3 cities in Israel; Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth which had profound importance in the life of Jesus and explain how Christmas festivities are celebrated in these cities to this day.

Bethlehem: During the Christmas season, Christians from around the world make a pilgrimage to the Church of the Nativity where it is believed to be the place where Jesus was born. Early Christian tradition says Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The New Testament: In the Gospel of Luke, 'Jesus’ parents lived in Nazareth and travelled to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, after which they returned home to Nazareth'.

Bethlehem has a large Christian community and Christmas is celebrated like a city festival. There are lights and decorations everywhere, with an abundance of Christmas festivities including singing and dancing in the streets. In preparation for the Christmas festivities, the municipality erects a large Christmas tree in Magners Square, where crowds will swarm to commemorate Jesus's birth. Bethlehem is a historic city in Christianity and is a special place to be over the Christmas period due to the strong connection it had to the birthplace of Jesus.

Jerusalem: Jerusalem is one of the most unique places in the world to celebrate Christmas. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City is one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in the world. Each year the city of Jerusalem hosts a festive mass on the 24th of December at midnight. It is renowned for its Christmas celebrations on the streets, where thousands of pilgrims come to celebrate Christmas in the place where it all began. Jerusalem's Christian and Armenian quarters, as well as the YMCA and many of its churches, decorate their buildings, hold carol concerts, and decorate their landmarks during the holiday season.

Chritsmas in Israel the Holy Land Galilee Nazareth Jerusalem Bethlehem trees

Nazareth: Nazareth is believed to be the hometown of Jesus Christ. Today, Nazareth is Israel’s largest Christian Arab city in the Holy Land. Nestled in the tranquil hills of Galilee, the city’s large Christian population celebrates the Christmas holiday along with thousands of tourists who come to visit. Nazareth comes to life during the holiday season; its residents decorate their Christmas trees, wear Santa hats, and host street festivals, church services, and parties. On the eve of Christmas, the town is filled with a colourful procession to commemorate the occasion.

Christmas in the Holy Land is a truly special occasion. The historical significance of the Holy Land in the Bible is paramount throughout and as the borders of Israel have opened once again following covid-19 Christians are able to follow in Jesus' footsteps. If you are able to visit any of the sites listed above you should expect it to be swarming with singing locals and tourists celebrating Christmas.

If you aren't able to celebrate Christmas in Israel this year, the Artza Subscription Box is able to bring a piece of the Holy Land to you. Our Artza subscription boxes are a wonderful way to inspire faith and grow closer to God.

“My eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32).