Once again fights have broken out out at Bethlehem's Church of The Nativity built on the spot where Jesus is said to have been born.
Palestinian police stormed the basilica after rival groups of Orthodox and Armenian clerics clashed in a row over the boundaries of their respective ancient jurisdictions inside the church.
Armed with brooms, around 100 priests and monks came to blows during the cleaning of the church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas celebrations.
The former Palestinian minister of tourism and head of the Palestinian forces in Bethlehem were slightly injured.
Administration of the church is shared by Catholic, Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic clerics.
The relationship between these groups has often been difficult, and there have been similar scuffles in previous years over jurisdiction.
And Jesus wept......
It reminds me of this poem from W.H. Auden, "For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio," on the modern significance of the Nativity event:
...Once again As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed To do more than entertain it as an agreeable Possibility, once again we have sent Him away, Begging though to remain His disobedient servant, The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.