Last week the Bethlehem Bible College Choir (which I lead) kicked off a marathon of 12 Christmas services by singing by the separation wall in Bethlehem. The service was part of the Kairos Palestine second anniversary conference. Singing and praying for peace by the wall and the watchtower was a powerful experience and testimony. It was cold and dark – literally and metaphorically. The wall behind us spoke for itself. I joked by calling out the solder in the watchtower and asked him to turn the lights of the tower on so we could see better. (He did not respond). But in the midst of this dark scene, we prayed for God to bless our country and to bring about His peace and justice. We were warm from the inside out. We were empowered.
This season the choir decided to do something different. We decided to give. The choir planned two visits: one to an elderly house for women and one to a small boarding school for mentally handicapped children. Both are run by Catholic nuns. This was totally initiated by the choir members, and they all gave (some very generously) to buy gifts – warm clothes for winter. The visits were special! We sang. We danced. There was lots of laughing, and lots of tears. We fell in love with the women and children. It is amazing how the giver ends up being the one receiving more in these cases. We were overwhelmed by this experience. All it took was three hours and few shekels, but it brought lots of smiles.
One woman was shocked when a choir member gave her a gift. “For me?” she asked? “I never receive gifts!” We were in tears. How selfish we have been.
“Why only during Christmas,” another choir member wondered! “I want to do this more often.”
I have all the respect for the nuns running these places. Their dedication and patience is amazing.
In the coming days we will head to Taybeh, Nablus, Zababdeh, and Ramallah. All are villages/cities with a tiny Christian minority. All feel forgotten. All are away from the attention Bethlehem receives, for example. We have developed a habit of visiting these places every Christmas, and this season we have a great opportunity to minister to the four of them. I will try to blog about these visits – time permitting.
God is Good!
Taken from blog; Munther Isaac. Reflections from Bethlehem