Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land
Joint Christmas Celebrations
10 January 2014
Manger Square Hotel - Bethlehem
At the invitation of Al-Liqa’ Center, a very distinctive Christmas Evening of celebrations took place with leading and other members of the community, Galilee and the Triangle, both Christians and Muslims attending this annual event. Dr. Geries S. Khoury stressed that the message of Christmas is a message of hope, love and renewal of faith all of which are sources of our strength and steadfastness and shared living as Christians and Muslims. He added that incarnation is aimed to reconciliation between God and man. Our hope today is to achieve reconciliation between our people and let peace prevail in the land of our “Prince of Peace”. Dr. Khoury, likewise, appealed to brothers in the Arab nation to stop fighting and bloodletting and to resort to reason and logic and to strengthen their belief in the One God, instead of swords, bombs and tanks.
His Excellency Bishop Butros Mu’allem asked those present to strength love and the respect of each other. We must reject hate and violence in order to reach an end to all conflicts in our land, here and the region. Thus, we can live in dignity and freedom.
Bishop Mu’allem read few passages from the Bible and from the Byzantine book of prayer and gave a deep and profound meditation on them.
Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Majeed ‘Ata, the Mufti of the Bethlehem Governorate, stressed the importance of this gathering of the one people in which all are celebrating the nativity of ‘Issa, hoping that there will be an end of bloodshed in the Arab countries. Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Majeed read some verses from the Qur’an concerning the birth of Christ.
Chants of Hymns was carried out by the Orthodox church chorus led by Mr. Lawrence Sammour. Likewise, the chanter Mrs. Luna Amin from Bethlehem presented few chants and Christmas Carols. Also Mrs. Taghreed Qa’war from Nazareth chanted three Christmas Carols. Other participants took part in the Christmas celebrations by reading some prayers and verses from the Bible. Also, Judge Muhammad Masarweh and Attorny ‘Ali rafe’ read verses from the Sura of Mariam from the Holy Qur’an.
At the end of the celebration, all participants had supper together in a brotherly atmosphere.