“God is not indifferent! God cares about mankind!  God does not abandon us!”
Pope Francis, January 1, 2016
World Day of Peace

Dear brothers and sisters,

This past year, we faced competing and dire global challenges to peace.  These ranged from natural disasters to man-made acts of terrorism and war.  Many of us rose to the occasion, offering solidarity, charity, and advocacy to our brothers and sisters in various parts of the world.

But, these responses to crises have also created “compassion fatigue” for many of us.  We remind ourselves that we can only do so much.  That the plight of the Palestinian Christians has been going on for decades and it does not seem to have a resolution on the near horizon.

The Palestinian Christians could easily respond with despair to their circumstances of being relegated to the role of the “Forgotten Faithful.”  However, most have not done so.  Instead, they are sustained by the steadfast belief of Emmanuel (God is with us).  Of course, they have their bouts of weariness.  They remember the Messiah’s promise:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

We can learn much from our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.  In this busy season of Christmas, let us renew our commitment to the greatest gift of the season: “Hope.”  As in Proverbs 13:12, “a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  Let us look to Him to rejuvenate our tired and weary hearts to continue our all-important journey towards peace, justice, and wellbeing in the Holy Land and beyond.

During this season, we at HCEF will once again renew our commitment to serve as the face of hope to our people amid a broken and, sometimes, an indifferent world.  We will remain steadfast in affirming to the Palestinian Christian community that we deeply care and, most importantly, we will not abandon you.  Surely, we will also offer prayers of gratitude for people, such as you, who have shown light, mercy, and hope, particularly in the troubled region where our Savior was born, lived, and resurrected.

The message of Christ is for people of all faiths and nations.  It is a message of boundless hope and peace.  The dark days of suffering will definitely end, ushering a blissful and lasting harmony.

Thank you for remembering our Palestinian brothers and sisters, and have a blessed and merry Christmas!


Rateb Rabie, KCHS
HCEF President/CEO