Sunday, December 17

MCC Palestine Update: Advent Greetings from the Holy Land! (3 of 4)

MCC Palestine Update: Advent Greetings from the Holy Land! (3 of 4)

17 December 2006

Dear Friends,

Once again, here is another Advent reflection, for the third Sunday of Advent, sent by a group of international church workers living and working in Palestine/Israel. Attached is this letter in the form of a bulletin insert that you can feel free to use in your community. Please visit for more information on MCUSA’s campaign and for Advent reflections and other Christmas ideas from MCC.

As we mentioned in our previous email, we are trying to clean up the email address book we use to send out the MCC Palestine Update. We also want to let you know that from Amman, Jordan, Ed Nyce (former MCC Palestine peace development worker in Bethlehem) is sending out updates about the situation in Iraq. To this end, we would ask you all, if you have not already, to respond to this email by including:

1) your name and the current email address you would like the Palestine Update sent to.
2) if you are interested, your name and the current email address you would like the Iraq Update sent to.

Peace to you all,

Timothy Seidel

Christi and Timothy Seidel
Peace Development Workers
Mennonite Central Committee - Palestine

Advent Greetings from the Holy Land!

Many students in church-run schools in the Occupied West Bank towns of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, and Ramallah correspond with pen pals from other countries. This past November, as students looked forward to the holiday season, many of their letters contained drawings of angels, Christmas trees, and descriptions of family traditions. Some, however, did not wish their correspondents the customary “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” Their thoughts still centered on a recent episode that had occurred in Bethlehem a week before. Two such letters appear below unedited.

Dear ____,
Hi, I’m studying well in the school and I’m getting high grades. But before two days, I couldn’t consintrate because the isralien solders get into the down town because they want to arrest 3 wanted people. They killed one of them and destroy his parents’ house, when they were destroying the house, they killed two men and one women. They hert one of the others. His friend tooke him to the hospital. They came into the town and arrested both of them. When we went to school, the wholle school was talking on the same subject but in the night it was a harebl time because we couldn’t sleep from the shooting and bumbs and the loud speaker sound.
KF, Grade 10

Dear ___,
I’m 14 years old. I’m in class 9. I have two brothers and no sister. When I was living in the old house, the Israelian people come into our home. They took me because they think that I was throwing stones. After 30 minutes when they see me little, small boy they take me back home and go. Now every time I see them I run away because I’m 14 yr. Next time they came they were looking for some people that they want.
Little boy, HH

Christian and Muslim children in these and other schools in the area have witnessed and sometimes experienced bloodshed, house demolitions, military arrests, isolation, fear and despair. Despite their best efforts, their families cannot protect them from such violence. And still the Christmas promise poignantly holds them steadfast.

Dear ____,
I’m in Grade 6, I’m 11 years old. Christmas is coming and we hope that it will come again. I live in Beit Sahour where the angel appeared to the shepherds near Bethlehem where Jesus the king was born. From the Holy land we wish you the best Christmas with Jesus’ blessing and a happy New Year. We send you our prayer for you to live in peace which we here in Palestine look for in patience.
Your friend, A

For more on the situation in some of these schools, learn about the Dar Al-Kalima school as well as the International Center of Bethlehem, ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, at To learn more about the life of children living under occupation, visit

During this season of Advent, children in your community can remember the “little town” of Bethlehem as we imagine it “then” but also can remember the situation here “now.” Please visit for more information and educational resources for children and adults. To find out more about specific suggestions for how you can get involved, please visit

Please pray that the peace on earth and good will of the Christmas promise (Luke 2:14) will come again to the children of Palestine who still wait patiently.

Grace and Peace,

Ecumenical Advisory Group*

*This is the third in a series of four Advent reflections lifting up the voices of people living in the land of Jesus’ birth, sent from the Ecumenical Advisory Group—a group of international church workers living and working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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