Christ is born. Let us rejoice/ By Patriarch Michel Sabbah

In our village, Taybeh, in our homes, in our souls, this evening we light the Christmas tree. Jesus Christ came to be the light of the world. To illuminate each one of us, so that we become able to see, to see what is good in us and the good that is lacking in us.

With Christmas light, we see the great love of God for us all. We see our great need to God's mercy and love.
Christmas is for us a source of light, and light leads us to truth, and truth generates peace, needed in our land.

We light the Christmas tree and we pray. Before God, we pray for ourselves, we pray for our village Taybeh, we pray for all villages and people around us, we pray for all our holy land.

We pray for Jerusalem, "wounded" just few days before Christmas, because of an irrational declaration by a President of this world. He destroyed the feast in Jerusalem, and in our hearts. But due to this same irrational action, we felt the need for more prayer and more Christmas joy. We felt the need to be more present before God, in order to oppose the injustices in which we live. Christmas is "God with us", to sustain us, to show us all, the right path of justice and peace.

Jerusalem is in each one of us. It is in in our prayers in this evening and every day. Jerusalem, the city where Jesus lived, taught, suffered, died and resurrected, and redeemed the world. For the peace of Jerusalem we pray. For each one of us we pray, for all those who love Jerusalem of all religions, we pray, so that each one of us becomes a "holy city", a holy place where God dwells. When everyone becomes himself "Jerusalem", a holy city, then the earthly Jerusalem will become a city of peace, no more a city of war, as it is now.

We also pray for the powerful of this earth, may they become able to recognize Jerusalem for what it is: a city of God, a holy place, for all, shared equally by all.

As we pray and light the Christmas tree, we affirm that the lights of Jerusalem must not be spent. We believe and affirm that Jerusalem is for us all, and no earthly power has the right to separate us from it. This evening, the joy of Christmas means justice, peace and light. Christmas light does not leave anyone in the dark. The holy city will not be left in the darkness of injustice.

Our prayer is love for all. Our strength is in our love, not in war nor in weapons. We remain in the light of Christmas, without weapons, in order to be strong only with the true strength given to us by God.

We call upon our oppressors to walk on the same road: there is no other way which leads to the end of our tragedy. The road to peace is love, the road to justice is love; the road to the wanted security is only justice and love. And the road to Jerusalem, place of our prayer and our capital, is also love.

Christmas invites us to meditate on the Eternal Word of God who became man and dwelt among us. With the presence of God among us, it tells us that we are able to overcome all obstacles, to keep in us the image of God, who is love. Love is not weakness, it is not emotions or anxiety. Love is a school we must enter, in order to learn how we do regain our freedom, how we live according to the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, how we love each other as God loves us all.

This is Christmas message in this evening. We ask God to fill us with his spirit who renews the face of the earth, and the hearts and minds of us all, so that we see clearly our way to God. The way to God is the same way to all our brothers and sisters in humanity. On our way to God, we can listen to the song of the Angels and sing with them: "Glory be to God in the highest, and peace on earth for the people of good will".

Happy and holy Christmas

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