HCEF’s President / CEO Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“Glory be to God in the highest and, on earth, peace and goodwill toward men.”
With these words, God broke through history and space that dark night in the fields around Bethlehem 2000 years ago. Who could really imagine that the all-powerful and eternal God would choose to become a part of humanity? The greatest event of the universe was this holy birth in this ordinary landscape. Why? This baby, Jesus is the son of God and Christ, the Savior, of the world.
The celebration of Christmas is a time of vital importance to the city of Bethlehem, Palestine. Every year, Christmas symbolizes a time of hope and peace for the people of Bethlehem, as well as the Palestinian community in general. The Christmas story originated in Bethlehem, and thus the celebration of Christmas represents a window to the world for Palestinians. Consequently, this occasion marks not just a day of religious and spiritual importance to the Christian community of the Holy Land, but in addition, denotes a day of national significance. This time of year marks a time of cooperation and unity within the Palestinian and Bethlehem community producing a message of peace to the world, along with the causes of reconciliation and unity.
It is the mission of the HCEF to help enrich the lives of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East. One of the ways we show our love and carry out the commandment of Jesus is to bring awareness of the situation to American Christians and encourage them to support their fellow Christians, especially during their time of great trials and suffering, by sharing their resources. Many Palestinian Christians do not have the freedom to travel to see the places where Jesus lived and walked, even though they live so close by. Here are two important things we have done this year, to increase awareness. We have published a special book “What Jerusalem Means To Us; What Jerusalem Means To Us; Christian Perspectives and Reflections”, a special collection of heartfelt essays by 23 Palestinian and other Christians of various cultural, ethnic, and national backgrounds sharing their intimate experiences in and reflections on the Holy City. And we have created an Exhibition “Returning to Bethlehem: A Cultural Pilgrimage, A Celebration of the Palestinian Culture and History of Bethlehem” at the Museum of People and Culture, Brigham Young University, Utah.
This Christmas Letter is to say “thank you” to all of you who have so generously shared your resources to bless our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. Your support has been tremendous and significant, making a visible difference in their lives, not just during the Christmas season, but all year long! We are very grateful for all you do and continue to do in supporting HCEF and the Palestinian Christians!
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” John 4:7
Please accept my warmest wishes for each of you to have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Rateb Y. Rabie