"This is written amid fields of snow within a few days of Christmas. And when I last saw snow it was within a few miles of Bethlehem.
The coincidence will serve as a symbol of something I have noticed all my life, thought it is not very easy to sum up. It is generally the romantic thing to that turns out to be the real thing, under the extreme test of realism. It is the skeptical and even rational legend that turns out to be entirely legendary.
Everything I have been taught or told led me to regard snow in Bethlehem as a paradox, like snow in Egypt. Every rumour of realism, every indirect form of rationalism, every scientific opinion taken on authority and at third hand, had let me to regard the country where Christ was born solely as a sort of semi-tropical place with nothing but palm-trees and parasols.
It was only when I actually looked at it that it looked exactly like a Christmas card."
Illustrated London News, 1920 (about Chesterton's December, 1919 trip to the Holy Land)
And just for a little local flavor, watch this short video of Palestinian Christians singing and dancing outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Christmas Day.