St. Mary’s Christmas 2013 Greetings

May Justice flourish in our time and fullness of peace forever.     Psalm 72

Dear each one.

palestinian_girl_nativityIt is December and we are moving closer to Christmas. In many of the Christian traditions this time is the season of Advent, preparation for the feast of Christmas when we remember and celebrate the birth of Christ, who is the “the Light and the Prince of Peace. This period began at the same time as the Jewish community began their eight day celebration of the feast of Hannukah, also the feast of Light.

Looking back over the year, as always, much has happened. We have continued to pain with the people of Syria and other places of war, violence and conflict and prayed unceasingly. We have also rejoiced at moments of life and goodness especially as we watch the journey of Pope Francis over these months since his election as Pope. He has been a witness and challenge to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Hosea 6. May we continue to live this in our daily humble lives and so make a difference wherever we are.

For me one of the hopeful signs that there are people, who want peace and actively work towards it, was an Interfaith Hannukah Candle Lighting ceremony.

On Wednesday evening December 4, some of us went to the final night of the lighting of the Hannukah Candles. This lighting was an Interfaith Candle lighting event, on Mount Zion.

Unfortunately over the last few years a group of rather extreme Jewish Youth have gathered to take revenge on certain activities by the Palestinians or the Israeli government that may appear to favour the Palestinians. This is referred to as “Price Tag “and targets Palestinian places, property, and also Christian sites and at times Jewish property.

A group of active Jews, Moslems and Christians gather after each event as a sign of disagreement and wanting Unity and Peace in our city. They join an organization called “Tag Meir”, (closest translation is “Light Tag” their caption is “Spread the Light: together against Terror”). Tag Meir is a coalition of around 40 organizations established to respond to the Price Tag attacks. Mount Zion including the Monastery and church of the Dormition, have been the target of these attacks over the last few months. A local synagogue Kol Ha Neshamah who are very socially conscious, asked Tag Meir to have a moment on Mt . Zion as support for the Benedictines, especially at this time of Hanukkah, the Jewish feast of Light. We Christians are in the time of Advent, our four week preparation for Christ our Light and peace. Jerusalem Centre for Jewish Christian Relations and others joined with Kol Ha Neshamah and Tag Meir and decided to make the final night of the Lighting of the Hannukkah Candles, an Interfaith candle lighting. Members active in the synagogue and Tag Meir spoke, as well as the Abbot of Dormition, Gregory Collins, Rabbi Avraham Goldstein of the Diaspora Yeshiva on Mt Zion and a well-known Muslim Peace Activist. Professor Mohammed Dajani, the Founder of “Wasatia” a center that promotes “moderation’ in every sphere of life; works to disseminate temperate ideas and thought especially for youths and future leaders of society by holding all kinds of activities to promote this. It was inspiring and encouraging to be part of this and a great support especially for the Dormition community and others on Mt. Zion. We returned home filled with hope and gratitude for such committed people who work untiringly to bring some justice, unity and peace to the city and eventually to the land.

We have had the joy of again having some excellent Biblical programs this year. Each program is of one month duration, one in Spanish, three in French and three in English. It is such a joy to have keen enthusiastic participants who greatly appreciate this intense month of deepening their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the scriptures that they have experienced in “the land.” We are grateful for their eagerness to share this especially in their teaching and preaching back home.

We continue to be very grateful for the generosity of many, who in spite of all the needs in the world are able to contribute to the Education Fund that assist some of the local children around us here thus making a difference to the lives of some young students by enabling them to continue their education so vital if we are to have future leaders to be part of this peace process in the Holy Land that we pray for so earnestly and daily. A big sincere thank you!

I would like to thank those who have sent emails, wishes and contributions throughout the year. I keep you all in my prayer here in this special place of Jerusalem.

In closing I want to assure you all that I will carry you in my heart as I assist at our Christmas Mass in Bethlehem. I pray that the peace, joy and light of Christ be with you and your loved ones this Christmas and may 2014 bring you abundant blessings and good health.

With love and thanks

Sr. Trudy Nabuurs NDS
St. Mary’s, Ecce Homo