So in lieu of any traditionally festive posts, I offer you this rather nifty travelogue instead: "The road to Bethlehem", wherein BBC correspondent Aleem Maqbool follows in the footsteps (and donkey-steps) of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Personally, I love the opening to the December 17 entry:
"Why are you standing there with a donkey?" said an old Palestinian man.I can't wait to hear more about the donkeys.
"This is a nice modern city, and you're standing there with a donkey! What are you trying to say? What's wrong with you?"
Clearly, not everyone was as happy as I was to meet my new travelling companion in the centre of the city of Jenin.
The old man thought I was trying to show Jenin as a backward place. He refused to accept the nativity explanation, and went on his way muttering about how deceptive the foreign media is.
Also, I want to write a travel/news story like this some day.
(The only irritating thing --- and this is a technical issue --- is that the posts are ordered in reverse chronological order, like a blog, which would be fine if they were all individually hyperlinked, like blog entries would be, and one could navigate through them from an archive page. But you can't, so it all feels very manual and pre-Web 2.0. The correspondent should just set up a free Blogger or Wordpress account instead.)