Samia Khoury: Christmas Greetings from the Holy Land

Posted on Dec 25, 2016

Samia Khoury writes from Jerusalem

“I keep wondering how we keep holding onto hope when there is no justice, when families are separated and not allowed family reunification….”

In his weekly reflections which he shares with us, Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah is quoting Prophet Isiah: “Strengthen all weary hands; steady all trembling knees; and say to the faint-hearted: Be strong, do not be afraid’ (Is 35: 3-4).

Very comforting words indeed, but much easier said than done when we have been subjugated to a brutal occupation over and above a dispossession that has lingered for almost seventy years. As strong as they try to be, the Palestinians are afraid and children are terrified as they never know whether they will find their home when they come back from school, or just a pile of rubble, or when a dear father, brother or sister will be picked up by the army in the middle of the night.

Yet once again Patriarch Sabbah draws our attention to what Prophet Isaiah said “He gives justice to the oppressed; he gives food to the hungry; he sets prisoners free” (Ps 146: 6-7).

I keep wondering how we keep holding onto hope when there is no justice, when families are separated and not allowed family reunification, when our young people are languishing in Israeli jails and when we see so many hungry people, especially children. Those children who constitute the largest sector of the wave of refugees from all over our region trying to seek a safe haven after being exposed to so much brutality due to foreign wars imposed on their countries. Yes our hands are weary, and our knees are trembling, and we do not know what the future holds for us, and that is why it breaks our heart to see some of our young people leaving the country to seek a better future for their children. However most of us are determined to stay put, although very often we feel like crying out “Until when O Lord, until when?”

From our land, the Holy Land where our Lord Jesus Christ was born, I send you warm greetings and best wishes for a Joyful Christmas and
a Peaceful New Year.