Christians worldwide are preparing to celebrate Christmas: baking treats of their homeland, listening to and singing favorite carols in their language, or displaying candles or homemade decorations.
Mary and Joseph, however, prepared for the birth of Jesus in a different way: with a long, slow journey towards Bethlehem. Today, Bethlehem is a city struggling under occupation to retain its history, arts, culture, and education in the midst of strong land and political disputes. ECLC’s ministry partners at Bright Stars of Bethlehem counter the palpable fear in their community by seeking to support the health, educational, cultural and spiritual development of people there and across Palestine.
As a small child, Jesus, too, would endure a long journey: as a refugee escaping Herod. Today, over 10 million children make a similar journey as refugees. These littlest refugees are fleeing persecution and danger and seeking safety and home; we welcome them and their families through our partners at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. LIRS resettles thousands of refugees each year, ensuring safe passage to a new home...and we work in our community to truly welcome our new neighbors.
This year, your Christmas offering is more than a financial gift. It is a witness. A statement of support of our Palestinian and refugee neighbors enduring challenging journeys in this season. To support Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Bright Stars of Bethlehem, donate online here or enclose a check in the offering envelope found in ECLC’s mailed Christmas Card before December 31st.