The Independent Newsweekly
|Voices of Christmas|
Issue Date: December 19, 2003
Christmas messages from the Holy Land
Marthame and Elizabeth Sanders are American Presbyterians working in the Palestinian Christian village of Zababdeh at the invitation of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Their documentary film, Salt of the Earth: Palestinian Christians in the Northern West Bank, follows peoples lives in places such as Zababdeh, Jenin and Nablus. For more information about the film, visit www.saltfilms.net.
Greetings from the land of Christ.
Our appointment in Zababdeh finishes at the end of 2003, and we are filled with mixed emotions about leaving this beautiful, suffering land. Amid our sadness and relief and fear and anticipation, we are mostly filled with a feeling of worry for our friends and neighbors here, that they will face even darker days ahead as the conflict continues to spiral and the wall [security wall/fence being built by Israel throughout the Palestinian Territories] continues to expand.
Let us remember that the most hopeless, unlikely situation -- a humble birth in a lowly stable, for example -- can be the context of miracle. And let us pray that the Prince of Peace bring much-needed succor to this land at this most unlikely time.
In addition to our own greetings, we also want to convey messages from a few Palestinians to Christians in the West, particularly those in the United States. As part of our documentary, we asked our film subjects if they wanted to say something to their American brothers and sisters in Christ.
Some of their messages follow.
Marthame and Elizabeth Sanders
Sylvia, sophomore in college
Afaf, retired schoolteacher
Elia, boy in sixth grade
I would like to extend my greetings here from Nablus, a Palestinian city, from a Palestinian congregation, Christians who worship and love the Lord. I want to tell you that we are here and we are going to stay here and we expect to have your support; not so much material support as prayers and advocacy and spiritual work. There are living stones in this area. There are Christians who need your support and who care about you as Americans, who pray for you and love you. Dont think that Americans are hated in a way that you hear about in the media. Its not the case. We still love each and every one whom God created, but especially we think about our fellow Christians all around the world. We are here for you and hope that that you are there for us.
The Sanders daily journals and monthly reflections, links and other resources are available at www.fpc-wilmette.org/sanders.
National Catholic Reporter, December 19, 2003
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