by Benjamin David
JERUSALEM – On Christmas Eve, in a normal year, the Christ Church compound would be teeming with thousands of local Arabs and Jews partaking in our Christmas open house festivities. Last year, due to COVID-19, we were severely limited in how many people we could host. Only one or two hundred people joined us for our traditional carol singing and fellowship over cookies and mulled wine. This year, despite still being in the shadow of a pandemic, we are cautiously optimistic that more visitors will join us. Israelis visiting our Heritage Centre will find more Hebrew-speaking guides who are welcoming and knowledgeable to answer all their questions about the Christmas story in their language.
There is a famous Passover song that is sung at the seder called “Dayenu” or “It Would Have Been Enough for Us.” The song tells the Exodus story and declares at each stage of the story: had God stopped there, it would have sufficed for the children of Israel. This song comes as close to expressing the sentiment that the Christ Church team shares in these weeks leading up to Christmas.
If this Christmas the only growth is that we have more local guides, it will be enough. If we only host a few more people than last year, it will be enough. If only our online following grows, it will be enough. Yet, we feel that this year there is a great opportunity at hand. After a difficult pandemic period for many, we are convinced that our friends and neighbors here in Israel are more open than ever to hearing the message of Christmas.
We invite our CMJ USA family to partake in our hope and prayer that beneath the festive spirit this year – the cookies, the decorations, the lights, and the music – every person who comes to our compound will leave having been touched by the grace found in the story of the Incarnation.
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