A stream of marching bands joyously paraded through Bethlehem on Thursday, but few people were there to greet them as the coronavirus pandemic and a strict lockdown dampened Christmas Eve celebrations in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
A Palestinian vendor stands in front of his shop near the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem, Monday, November 23, 2020. (The Associated Press/Majdi Mohammed)
Christian worshippers light candles in the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Monday, November 23, 2020. (The Associated Press/Majdi Mohammed)
Mahouts dress elephants as Santa Claus to help distribute face masks to students, in an effort to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ahead of Christmas celebrations at a school in Ayutthaya, Thailand, December 23, 2020. (Reuters/Chalinee Thirasupa)
People wearing Santa hats walk through a shopping plaza decorated for the holidays in the city centre of Sydney, Australia, December 17, 2020. (Reuters/Loren Elliott)
A Christmas tree decorated with names of those who died in the August explosion at the Beirut seaport is on display in front of damaged silos, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, December 23, 2020. (The Associated Press/Hussein Malla)