(Times of Israel) Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun is concerned.

It’s nearly Christmas, but the leader of this famed little town – the first female to ever hold the role – says that tourists are not flocking to the events in the packed calendar she and her team have prepared for the month of December. In a bid to jumpstart the city’s most lucrative season, she launched Christmas early this year, lighting the massive tree at the center of Manger Square on December 1 and unveiling a packed four weeks of music, art and cultural happenings.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST! DEC. 25, 2005: Muslim grinches steal Bethlehem Christmas — World leaders, media blame Israel for fleeing Christians

But despite Bethlehem’s critical role in the story of Christmas and the life of Jesus, its shrinking Christian community this year is experiencing a rather lackluster holiday.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.