Community Christmas Banquet 2012

Community Christmas Banquet 2012

Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

It may sound cliché, but in a world where Christmas has become an increasingly commercial holiday, focusing on Jesus’s birth as the reason we celebrate Christmas is even more critical. This year’s Bethlehem Bible College and Shepherd Society co-sponsored Christmas banquet did just that, with songs, choirs and preaching  which gave Jesus’ the praise and honor on his birthday.

It is amazing that we are celebrating Christmas from Bethlehem, a place which is significant for two reasons this year.” BBC’s New President Rev. Jack Sara expressed. “First, with the United Nation’s granting of Palestine as a non-voting member state, the Palestinian people have become even more optimistic about peace. Second, the Biblical, spiritual, and historical fact that Jesus Christ was born where we are now brings a new dimension to our perspective as Palestinian Christians about Jesus’ love and care for us.”

Around a thousand people from all over the West Bank came to the banquet held near Shepherd’s Fields in Beit Sahour, a town a mile south of Bethlehem. In the New Testament narrative, this is the place where the angels announced the birth of Jesus saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

“With Christians gathered from all over the West Bank, the banquet was a reminder for all Palestinian Christians about Church Unity and that Jesus should be the center of our lives,” Bethlehem Bible College staff member Daniel Aqleh remarked.

Prayer and welcome was offered by Rev. Munir Kakish, president of the Council of Local Evangelical Churches and by Rev. Jack Sara. Later, Rev. Victor Hashweh, a renowned evangelist all over the Middle East and North Africa delivered the Christmas message, which described the challenges the Arab world is confronting and emphasizing that Jesus is the hope of all the nations. He is the answer for the questions they are asking.

Following the message, over 200 people responded to Rev. Hashweh’s call to give their lives to Jesus and joined him in a prayer of repentance and acceptance of Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Nisreen Nassar, the coordinator of the event recalled: “Many people told me this was the most wonderful year of the Christmas banquet.  Really, the messaged touched the hearts of many people.”

After the message, the community enjoyed a banquet and the music of professional Christian singer, Anan Sallum from Nazareth.  In the end, during the Alliance church choir’s performance, the young people gathered spontaneously at the front stage to sing carols of praise and adoration to God!

“The Alliance church choir was like a fire,” continued Nisreen. “Everyone was jumping and praising!”

A free-will offering of $600 was gathered during the event to help the work of the Shepherd society. We thank God because this offering expresses the local concern and compassion for the poor and the needy.

Rev. Alex Awad, offered a special thanks to Christian Aid, Virginia for their sponsorship of this event in his welcoming and introductory remarks.

Please pray that those who committed their lives to Christ will have people to disciple them and will join a local church in the Bethlehem Area.

See more pictures click here.