The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
– John 1:14
The Advent and Christmas seasons are upon us! For many, this is a time of joy, as we prepare our hearts and our homes to celebrate the birth of Christ. We light the Advent wreath each week as we await the day when the Word came to us as a little babe to grow and guide us. We gather together as family to celebrate the fulfillment of the promise of the Father to us through His Son.
Singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” we reflect on the place where God-Made-Man was born – the physical embodiment of the Word Made Flesh. As the birthplace of our faith, it is unfathomable that the population of Christians has continued to wane: In and around Bethlehem, Christians have gone from being 80 percent of the population when Israel was founded in 1950, to around 12 percent today*. Unemployment, discrimination, and the struggles of living within the Israeli barrier wall, continue to drive Christians from Bethlehem – and the Holy Land in general – in search of more favorable opportunities.
St. Joseph traveled to Bethlehem on faith, unable to find suitable lodging; he continued his search on faith. Today, the children of God continue to look to provide homes for their families with faith bolstering their search. Today’s Christians find there is no room: not at the shops, factories or other employers in the Holy Land. Those Palestinians who are employed earn about one-third of what their Israeli neighbors do. Many Palestinian workers endure great hardships to pass through the barrier wall gates to access better paying jobs in Israel.
As Christians, one of our greatest blessings is the ability to be the embodiment of the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our knowledge that, when we act in service of the Word, it is Christ Himself working through us to do good works. Your donation will enable FFHL to do even more for the men, women, and children we serve.
Your meaningful contribution will restore the faith of a child as she opens her Christmas gifts, and it will lighten the hearts of her parents as they rest secure in the knowledge of Christian hope – a hope that is kept alive and ever present through the kindness of people like you.
Please pray for the people of the Holy Land, and know that I will continue to hold you and your family in my prayers. May you have a blessed Advent and joyous Christmas.
Yours in Christ,
-Fr. Peter F. Vasko, OFM
Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land