Christmas in Bethlehem 2012: Arab Christians Share Food Baskets and Toys in Gaza

Arab Christians, caught in the crossfire between Zionists and Jihadists, are rejoicing and reaching out in love to their neighbors in the Gaza Strip and throughout the war-torn Middle East. It’s Christmas Eve in Bethlehem!

By Bill Bray, Special Correspondent
Christian Post Blog - Indigenous Insights

BETHLEHEM, Gaza Strip, December 24, 2012 – While Christian pilgrims and tourists are streaming here from all over the world to visit the birthplace of Jesus Christ and worship at the Church of the Nativity today, local Arab Christians will again be quietly going door to door this year, sharing food baskets and toys with their most needy neighbors.

The aid is being made possible by Christian Aid Mission based in Charlottesville, Virginia and comes from Christians all over the United States.

Similar scenes will be repeated in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt where many public celebrations of the birth of Christ have been canceled or are more subdued, sober and downsized than here in Bethlehem.

As tolerance for Christians and other minorities fades in the wake of growing Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda violence, many of the Christmas pageants and children’s programs have been cancelled. In some places, the usual decorations have been stowed away as Christians hide for safety from their Muslim neighbors.

Yet over 1000 gathered last week from all over the West Bank in Shepherd’s Fields of Beit Sahoir, one mile south of Bethlehem, for a Christmas Banquet sponsored with a grant from friends of Christian Aid Mission in Charlottesville, Virginia – and 200 came forward to receive Jesus Christ as savior when Arab evangelist Victor Hashweh gave an invitation.

“This is the very place where angels appeared declaring peace on earth and good will toward men,” said Alex Awad, organizer of the event, as young people gathered around the front stage singing carols of praise and adoration to God in Arabic.

Publicly thanking Christian Aid and others for their help during the event, another of the Arab leaders said, “The current unrest presents an opportunity and obligation to help persecuted Arab Christians and others caught up in the crossfire of these Middle East wars – there are so many urgent needs right now with almost a million refugees in Jordan alone. The whole Christian world needs to unite to help stand with us and show God’s love to all the peoples of the Middle East.”

Christian Aid is helping send aid to persecuted believers in nearby Egypt and the frontline states around Syria as well – not only at Christmas but year-round according to the regional director in Virginia.

“If it weren’t for the gifts like these from Christians abroad,” said the local leader of the relief effort, “we would have nothing to share with the refugees and the poor here and at the other main centers of need this Christmas – Gaza, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.”

Christian Aid Mission has established a special fund, Gift Code 411HELP, to send aid to the victims of the current Middle East violence – especially to the hidden Christians who are among the most neglected and unrecognized of the victims. A hot line has been established to accept donations at 800-977-5650.