ASIA/HOLY LAND - Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem: at Christmas let us rejoice in God's gift for us, in these difficult times

Friday, 18 December 2020 middle east   oriental churches   christmas   holy places   jerusalem   pandemic  


Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - The birth of Jesus and the celebration of his Nativity "constantly remind us that God is with us and always will be". For this reason, the imminent liturgical Solemnity of the Lord's Birth calls us to recognize that "the presence of God with us is a source of encouragement in all circumstances, especially in these exceptional moments marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic crisis, the many injustices and the increase in violence against the vulnerable and the weak". Thus we read in the Christmas message that the Patriarchs and the Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem jointly signed and disseminated today, Friday 18 December, expressing their solidarity and closeness "to all the people around the world affected by the pandemic and its implications regarding more levels, in particular the population of Bethlehem and its surroundings".
In their message, the Heads of the Churches and Christian communities of Jerusalem make some spiritual reflections on the mystery of the Nativity of the Lord and on the light that this event also sheds on the events of the present time. "Through the incarnation of the Son of God, the Word made flesh" we read in the message "heaven and earth were united, and the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, was wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger". The Patriarchs and the heads of the Churches of Jerusalem recall that, even then, times were bad, and Jesus "was born in a time of anguish, violence, exclusion and poverty. He shared with us human flesh and his limitations, except sin, because through his passion, death and resurrection, we can all have life and have it in abundance. God's gift to us in these difficult times - the signatories of the message comment - brings hope, renewal and encouragement to all creation, because if God is with us, then who will ever be against us?".
In the Christmas message, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem also refer to the recent arson attack perpetrated on Friday 4 December in Jerusalem against the Basilica of the Agony, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. "The presence of Christian communities, together with other religious communities in the Holy Land - reads the message - continues to be an essential part of the social, cultural and religious mosaic of the Middle East. The recent desecration of the Church of the Agony in Jerusalem will not discourage us from continuing our peaceful mission and Christian witness". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 18/12/2020)