Maria Khoury: “In one minute our whole life changed in Taybeh.”

Posted on Mar 15, 2020

by Maria Khoury of Taybeh, Palestine

May God protect you and keep you safe during these very challenging times on earth.

When my children keep saying wash your hands over and over, I want to remind them that during this Holy Great Lenten journey, we are supposed to ‘wash’ our hearts over and over. But, also it’s the first time I realize how many extra times I keep touching my face which they tell me not to with the coronavirus dictating our lives.

In one minute our whole life changed in Taybeh. We went from working 20-hour days/16-hour days to not having work at all. Obviously tourism came to a dead stop. No more three buses in front of Taybeh Golden Hotel. It has been the best year ever for tourism in Palestine with the Bethlehem hotels being completely full.

When all of the people around me say let’s hope the world will go back to normal or the way it was, l think we should pray for the world to focus on its original purpose in giving glory to God. We need to pray, pray, pray! I think we have forgotten about God…

Maybe Palestine was one of the first countries to announce a closure when they sealed Bethlehem from the world in the first week of March. The four cases of coronavirus in Bethlehem turned to 35 but controlled and contained temporarily while all hotels, schools and restaurants closed. In the beginning, I thought this was a crazy decision, but seeing the world shut down and in fear is beyond my understanding. I mean, me, personally, Iam used to living under complete closure in the West Bank (this is like normal life for us). But, Iam not use to seeing others under lock down.

Although I won’t be lighting my candles anymore at the 4th century ruins of St George Byzantine Church, I will be lighting as many candles as I can at the Holy Cross Chapel at Hellenic College. It’s my first day back in Boston and I will keep my faith and hope in Christ. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Before leaving Palestine, I called Geronta Justin for his blessing and it was a great relief to know the team at Jacob’s Well had tested negative and passed their 14 days quarantine in good health. Glory be to God for all things!