|It’s been awhile since I’ve sent an email and as the holidays are upon us, I wanted to touch base from the Middle East. A lot has happened in the last year or so since I’ve sent out an email blast. I left the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron and took a short job for Defense for Children International – Palestine working from Ramallah before I found a job closer to home here in Bethlehem working for the Holy Land Trust. It’s good to be working close to home. It’s been an amazing ride in that respect with a lot of personal and professional development. I am thankful for that.
I am grateful that we have this reprieve during the holidays. We’ve weathered a controversial election, have had the heavy burden bearing the concern and responsibility of righting the various injustices in front of us. From the Standing Rock resistance and the Syrian civil war to global warming and combating oppressive extremism, we’ve all been exhausting trying to sort out our role in this dramatically shifting world. But as we gather with friends and family over the next couple of months, we have the opportunity to heal a little bit and find a renewed hope in our relationships.
Christmas time here brings me so much hope and optimism. I remember last year during Christmas, despite the heightened violence and clashes in and around Bethlehem, I remember feeling a sense that everything is going to be ok in the long run. I would walk to the Church of Nativity, the historically recognized birthplace of Jesus, and an overwhelming sense of unity would come over me as I watched Muslims, Christians and people from all over the world, representing a multitude of different cultures and beliefs collectively enjoy the moment. Watching so many people circle the big Christmas tree in the center of town, singing carols, and celebrating together reminds that we have more in common than what we have in differences.