Christmas: for the Churches in the Holy Land Jerusalem is a “sacred gift” for the world

The status quo must be preserved until a just peace agreement between Israel and Palestine is reached. In Bethlehem, the angels announced the dawn of a "new day" and the birth of a "divine" economy, God's providence, “bringing forth joy, hope and peace to a world torn apart by violence, injustice and greed.”

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem released their Christmas letter. In it they reiterated their support for the status quo in the city.

“Attempting to possess the Holy City Jerusalem, or confine it with terms of exclusivity will lead to a very dark reality,” the letter says.

The latter goes on to say that “At this moment the world’s gaze is fixed on Jerusalem, a city that is holy to all Abrahamic faiths”.

In view of this, the prelates “reaffirm our clear position in calling for the preservation of the Status Quo of the Holy city until a just peace agreement has been reached between the Israelis and Palestinians on the bases of negotiations and International law.”

Meanwhile, “The Christians of the Holy Land know that their presence and witness is strictly related to the holy sites and their accessibility as places of meeting and encounter for unity between peoples of different faiths.”

An “exclusive political approach to Jerusalem” would “deprive the city of its real essence”, which is that of “a sacred gift, [. . .], hallowed ground to the entire world.”

Once, the angels announced a “new day” to the shepherds in Bethlehem. Victimised by the injustice of the Roman occupation and excluded from socio-political economy, the latter “were confronted with a different economy: God’s providence.”

Thus, the proclamation of Jesus’s coming “demands participation in the Divine economy in bringing forth joy, hope and peace to a world torn apart by violence, injustice and greed.”

The letter goes on to call for renewed commitment to praying for the Middle East, asking the “Prince of Peace” to “inspire the hearts and minds of all those in authority to walk in the path of peace, justice and reconciliation among the nations.”

In concluding, the heads of the Churches in the Middle East note that “As we celebrate the coming of Christ as the light of the world, we are inspired by and take comfort in the words of the hymn of Zechariah – ‘the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace’.”