Dear Friends in Oikosnet!
As Christmas Eve is approaching and this year of many changes is drawing to a close, this is what is on my mind today:
Before e-mail newsletters became common and subsequently all too often a flood of unsolicited information, we in Oikosnet Europe used to present “The Centres of the Week” for almost ten years in a row, highlighting one European member organisation and one from the global Oikosnet. For all those centres that at the time did not have a website, we created a basic page. And in all these years, in the week before Christmas, we presented the International Centre of Bethlehem, making the commitment to continue doing so until a peaceful situation arrived. “The Centres of the Week” are no longer there, and peace has not yet arrived in Bethlehem, so here we offer our prayers again that the wall may come down there, too. And yet, the work of our colleagues from Bethlehem is a source of inspiration, hope and joy far beyond the local community. Here we have a live example of resilience and hope in a very, very difficult situation. Our friend and their director, Mitri Raheb, just issued a Christmas message of thanks on YouTube from “The Bright Stars of Bethlehem”.
Such resilience and persistent hope we also wish for our Oikosnet friends in another troubled city: Aleppo. In a corner of the website of our Oikosnet friends there, the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church, we find this picture saying “Pray for our country”
and we can only imagine the words and stories here, between the lines, the feeling of living in a big prison. We send them our prayers of compassion and hope in this Christmas season, hoping that already the next one will be more joyful!
“Advent is a verb”, our President, Jaap van der Sar, wrote in his Christmas message. Yes, let’s be agents of Advent in the coming year!
With all good wishes for a blessed Christmas time!