YWCA of Palestine Christmas Message 2015
Ring the Bells, Light the Candles, Knock Down the Wall
“Today we light the Christmas Tree to show the world that we are people who deserve to live” says Mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun, during the lighting of the Bethlehem Christmas tree in Manger Square this year. This year’s festivities are subdued with church bells replacing fireworks reminding people that Christians still exist and in honor of the many Palestinians killed since the middle of September.
Over 100 Palestinians have been killed with thousands injured in this latest uprising, under an almost 50 year old Israeli military occupation.
One of these youths was recently shot and murdered by Israeli soldiers. For the YWCA of Palestine, Abed‐ AlRahman Al‐Barghouthi, a 27 year old young man from Aboud village near Ramallah, was considered to be a young man of exceptional drive and enthusiasm. He revived the meaning of what it means to be a volunteer, and was part of our YWCA’s Shoumous Project, a project for youth empowerment and livelihood development. Abed was known by his friends to be a vibrant energetic young man with dreams and hopes for his future. He was a person we could count on. His work with us was helping him make some of those dreams become achievable goals. He recently came back from the United State and got engaged. He deserved to live, to get married, and have a future.
As we enter into this time of preparation for birth, we also ask you to join us in lamenting the loss of our youth, and in particular the loss of this young man who knew how to live and was loved by all the people around him.
As you light candles this Advent season or hear bells ring, please remember us here in the holy land, the place of the birth of the Prince of Peace. Remember that it is God who brings light into dark places in unexpected places and unexpected ways. Remember that we ourselves can become welcoming fires in empire’s shadows for each other.
As you light your candles this Advent season we also ask that you join us in our new Peace and Justice advocacy project called Breaking Down the Wall. We invite you to join us in prayer and action:
He came down so we could have hope, peace, love, and joy.
Fill us and give us enough of all
to knock down the walls and barriers
that divide and separate us
Let us welcome You in Bethlehem.
Let us fling wide the gates
and welcome You in our hearts
so we may be born anew