“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
The season of Advent has started, and the preparations for the Christmas are on hand. The trees are already decorated, the streets are illuminated, the stores are full of people shopping for Christmas, kitchens are busy baking the Christmas cookies, and Christmas music fills the stores and streets. It is Christmas!!!! So let us receive the new born king whose star shone above the sky of Bethlehem to rejoice and proclaim the birth of the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the king of Love and the Princes of Peace in the City of David in Bethlehem.
The city of David Bethlehem is today something else. While people all over the world are enjoying preparing for Christmas as mentioned above, we are preparing but in a different way. We are somehow desperate from the unbearable situation we are living in. We are preparing for Christmas without having the desire and the enthusiasm that we used to have before. The economic situation is suffocating and even killing us; we are unable to compete in the race and cycle of life. We are not living as normal human beings do.
Some people may think I am exaggerating in what I am saying, but this is the reality of what is going on here. The main but not the only responsible of this desperate life here, is the Israeli Occupation which is assigning us in a big jail, and preventing us from moving freely from one place to the other, even within the West Bank area. They have established a stranglehold over everything. Life is hard to live, because of our harsh political situation. Israel justifies this harsh imposition of punishing rules claiming that the security of the state of Israel is at risk.
But still, we are a people that never surrender to situation or circumstances, because our hope is bigger than all of these problems surrounding us; it is bigger than the wall jailing us and separating us from our families, friends and Holy Places; it is bigger than the prisons that empoisoning our brothers and sister; and it is even bigger than an area and/or a country we are living in. Our hope is in Him, who is born humbly in the manger in that stable of Bethlehem. Who is provoking us to provoke one another to love and good deeds.
All of these injustices, humiliations, sufferings, and inequality must end now. The whole world must not remain silent and do nothing. They must look at us the Palestinian in General and Arab Palestinian Christians in Particular, who are living here since the time of Jesus and staying here as the living witnesses of the Christ, the Christians and Christianity which reached the whole world later on. But until the world moves to do something we will continue the whole world how to Hope, how to make peace and how to love. We will continue considering how to provoke one another to love and perform good deeds.
I wish you all a blessed Advent time and blessed Christmas
Rev. Ashraf Tannous
Pastor of Lutheran Church in Beit Sahour
ATG Board Member