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THE CHURCH WHERE THE MANGER STOOD The Oldest Christian Church in Christendom at Bethlehem BETHLEHEM, Palestine, Dec. 25.- ChriHtmai spent on the spot wticie Christ was born is the privilege not extended to the majority of the citizens of the United States. Even those who could afford it do not seem to fancy the idea the/, prefer the more worldly pleasures centralized on the Christmas tree and turkey in their own home. Imagine Christmas spent in the oldest church in Christendom v>boi4 the iollow erg of three religions assemble to ting the praises of iiim who died for men, guarded meanwhile by the soldiers of the sultan of Turkey, representing .1 fourth religion. J This church of St. Alary, or the Church of the .Nativity as it is called, in said to be erected over the grotto where the l lni-t child opened his eyes more than 100(1 years Ago, according to our western calendar. The followers of the Roman Catholic, Green Catholic and Armenian churches believe the church to be erected over the cite of the original stable in the cave where the Savior was born. The Protest ants, while they may doubt this, have never claimed any other Bite to be the authentic birthplace, and so the grotto in the Church of the Nativity has been ac cepted practically universally. The early Christians erected an ora tory over the grotto of the Nativity and Adroin razed it and had erected a statue to Adonis. Helen in turn destroyed the statue and with Constantine built the original Church of the Nativity. (tine* that time, centuries ago, Chris tian pi'in have commemorated events by adding to the church, until it has (spread to enormous proportions. The or iginal building still stands, time-defying. Its very walls cause the mind to re vert through the centuries to the time of Abraham, when individual parts of the edifice are said to have seen their share of history-making. This at least in what tin- devout say to the tourist. They tell that some of the columns are from Solomon's temple; that some of the slabs over which, tourists' feel have wandered carelessly were trod by the leol of Him whose birth the world celebrates today. Greek, Roman and Syrian converts have sung the praises of the Master within the walls of the church for centuries and cen turies. Christmas has been celebrated here by the victorious Crusaders under God frey of Bouillon, Robert of Flanders and other men of might who carried the cross on their shields . and the word of God on the points of their long awords. It was in the old church on Christmas day in 1101 that Baldwin 1., protestor a the holy sepulchre and baron of Jerusa lem, was crowned. Often ransacked and battered by armies of different religion, the old church retains its mark of indi viduality. • Grim, sturdy and -threatening as ,i fortress, its entrances are barricaded 1 even to this day, a grim reminder of the eventful past. Although the walls have withstood i the ravages of time, the interior decorations, draperies and curtains have been replaced time and again by facsimiles of the origi nal hangings, even as the hooded monks have replaced those of their brethren who have faded away. The church is built in the form of a cross, and iii the nave are the 48 pillars, some of which are said to have been taken from the temple of Solomon, supporting the arched root', in the ceiling of which are some of 'the cedars of Lebanon. Marking the (spot where the Star of Bethlehem ie said to have come to a standstill while guiding the wise men is a star, sunk in the floor before the main altar. Strangest of all the strange thiiigs the traveler sees in Bethlehem and in this Him.lrons church is the triple celebration of Christmas in the grotto of the Nativity. which is inside the walls of the church. To the west Christmas come* on Decem ber '25. ami so it does here to the Latins, who on this day celebrate the greatest event in history witli all the splendor the church of Home is- callable of. Twelve days after the celebration, the Qreeh church calendar recognise* Christ ma* and tln> day is celebrated with pomp tdd worship after the ritual of that re ligion. Again U days pass, when the Armenian church celebrates the birth in a fitting manner. Nowhere else under the Run do three religion! hold services and sing the praises of Him who died for men in one edifice. It would be next to impossible for the follower* of three religions, as different the three hen.- represented, to meet .ii one plan, even to glorify Christ, with out trouble: resulting, (a it has resulted so often here. To prevent a repetition of the bloody battles that have desecrated this holy of holies, the sultan of Turkey has estab lished ,1 garrison in Bethlehem to guard the one during the services from the at tacks of tile other two. A- the Christmas season approaches, the garrison is added to from the troops Hi Jerusalem. On the different Christmas days the fez-toppc*l soldier» of Mohammed fill the church and line the road approach ing it from Jerusalem, to prevent rioting. The Latin as he chants the mass must be protected from , the Armenians and Greeks, the Greek must be protected from the LAtin and Armenian and the Ar menian must be protected from the Latin and Creek. To guard the manger, said to be the identical one in which the child was born, two Turkish soldiers stand guard day and night. Think of it—Mohammedan* stand ing guard over one of the most precious TO SIMEON, AN AGED AN DEVOUT MAN OF JERUSALEM. IT WAS REVEALED BY THE HOLY GHOST THAT HE SHOULD NOT DIE BEFORE BH HAD SEEN THE LORD'S CHRIST. WHEN JESUS' PARENTS CARRIED THK BABE TO THE TEMPLE, SIMEON TOOK THE INFANT IN HIS ARMS AND BLESSED GOD AND SAID: "LORD, NOW LKTTEST THOU THY SEh, ANT DEPART IN PEACE, * * " FOR MINK EYES HAVE SKEN THY SAL VATION." possessions of the Christendom, the birth place of Jesus Christ, whose being they do not recognize. CHRISTMAS AT WHITE HOUSE No Outsiders Will be With the President's Family—Many Presents for All WASHINGTON, Dec. 25.—A glimpse of the present Christmas in the White House may be gained by a consideration of the observance of the great day there a year ago. They have said at the home of the president that there is to be no change in the program. It can, therefore, be set down that there is a joyous family party in prospect, with presents m abundance for every member of the big household. No outsiders, not even intimate triends, will be invited to share in the celebra tion over the bounty oi S.n.i Clau*. li will be as much a family affair as though the Roosevelts lived on a farm, Miow bound and miles from any neighbor, in stead of a mansion at which an aii'.y of people feel free to call on any olhei day. There will be no Christmas tree. The president's objection to that form of cele bration has never been made known. Some folks have expressed the belief thai it :» because he does not > approve of me de struction of trees, but it is only a bvcsk. He has not discussed the subject. There is also an absence of decorations in the White House. There are some flowers and Christmas greens, but nothing like an elaborate decoration of the bouse is attempted. That is because of a desire to avoid display and to have the ooserv ance of the day as simple and homelike a* THE TACOMA TIMES possible. Of the presents last year there was no end. 'The president has thousands, of friends. So have the other member* of the lamily. The prevailing spirit or good will at this season seems to be emphasized and increased when one's friends include the children of the president. The char acter of the gifts received last year has been concealed as a family secret. The number of them was rendered olain enough by the procession of messengers that cams to the White House during the two weeks before Christinas. There could be no doubt as to the contents oi the mysterious looking packages addressed to the president, Mr*. Rooseve.lt and the children. It can be said, howevtr, that the most acceptable gift to the boys lfUl year wa.s a fully equipped electric railway that was set up in the nursery. There were dozens of the usual Christina.-- toy* for the little ones and elaborate present! for the older members of the family. Miss Alice is said to have received man£ valu able articles of jewelry. Archie conuib uleil probably the most interesting feature of the day's celebration. He had secretly installed a little Christmas tree in a clothes closet, and the White House elec trician had placed in the branches a nirn ber of tiny incandescent lamps. After the distribution of presents., Archie led the family to the hidden tree with Us mil liant lights and gaudy decorations. The iiu mlier.- of the family were, oi course, delighted and greatly surprised. I hiistmas package* that have arrived during the past two weeks have been slowed away in Ihe library. This Homing the family will assemble in i he room, and there will be a grand dis tribution. The morning will be spent. :n helping the little ones with their toys. There will be a big Christmas dinner. The turkey for this feast is sent every year bj a Mr. Voss»a resident of Rhode Island. In the afternoon there may be a visit to the home oi Mrs. * Owlea, the sister of Mrs. Roosevelt. There will certainly be a hive through the parks. The .children will retire early, while tlie president and Mrs. Roosevelt will entertain a party of liends at dinner. CHRISTMAS IN THE FOREIGN LEGATIONS AT WASHIOGTON Some Come From the Lands Where the Christ-Child Is Not Known WASHINGTON, Dec. 25.— Santa Claus triumphant is to be seen at ins best at the embassies and legations in this city. L'here, as elsewhere, his toddling subject* rule, and that their sway is ausolute is proved by the WBJ they force the rich and great of all nations, regardless of re ligion, to honor their patron saint. » There are 3ti of these homes of distin guished foreigners who are here as tiie representatives of their governments. llicy represent all of the great countries of the world and many of the small ones. llicy come from all parts of the globe, i'hey are white, black, brown and yellow. There are Christians and heathen among them. They bring here the customs of all the great races under the sun. Some come from lands where Christmas is unheard of; where seasons of good cheer and of the giving of presents occur, ii .ii all, at other periods of the year than December. In all of these legations, however, where there are small children, Christmas is added to the festivals ap pearing in the native calendars. The lit tle autocrats soon learn of the great day and force its observance. And so it comes that Christmas trees with their twink ling lights and burdens of gifts, dolls and toys and all that goes to delight the child ish hear! may be found in the homes of all these foreigners. (uncial Wu. the former China**] minis ter, made this concession to Christianity tor' the happiness of his youngsters. He has departed, but there are other chil dren in the legation and elaborate plan* for the recognition of their rights have been made this year. The lucky children in the French em bawy have two daya of joy. In France St. Nicholas, attended by little saints dressed in tins and carrying packs, makes the rounds of all the houses on December ti. He leaves gifts for the good children of the French embassy a'e good, of course, and switches for the bad. The ebildreii so they wen favored with presents on December i>. and "ill get a whole lot more this morning. French children range their •hoes in the chimney place on Christmas eve. Gifts are brought to the Haitian lega tion by the infant .Jesus. There can be no doubt of that, for one moment a youngster of the household, almost burst ing with excitement, declared that he had teen the holy child leaving them. The Russian Christmas comes 12 days after December 25. In the absence of children only the Russian day is ob served. It is. a time of reunions, festivity and the exchange of gifts. In the South American legations the day is a solemn religious festival. Mass is celebrated at midnight on Christmas eve. The place of honor in the house is given to thi' manger, or riacimiento, rep reaenting the hirt hof Christ. There are figures of .In- ihepherda and wise men in wax grouped around the infant Jesus. Christmas trees and Kift* also figure in the celebration* At the Mexican embassy a jar filled with nuts and bonbons is suspended from tin' back porch. Various members of the family, blindfolded, strike at the jar with a long stick. When one finally breaks it all engage in a scramble in the shower of s«eets. Then a basket filled with gifts is [tnjsrd around. There is a great tree at the Aus trian embassy in honor of Miss Mela, al most 5 years old. who proudly proclaims herself an American girl. As was the case last year, all the little ones of the diplomatic corps, about 50 in number, have bteu invited to Me the wonderful tree. Great feasts, in which native delicacies secured for the occasion form the most prominent feature, are served at all the legations on Christinas day.