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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

December 13, 2023: Hatred Will Vanish" Embracing the True Message of Christmas

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Wednesday, December 13, 2023: "Hatred Will Vanish"

Embracing the True Message of Christmas

But first an announcement about our Liturgy Meeting tomorrow, December 14, 2023

Liturgy Committee members Steve Lyman and Dan Vrooman have planned a ZOOM meeting for tomorrow afternoon: 5:00PM - 6PM. At this meeting we'll volunteer to lead liturgies in 2024.

Join Zoom Meeting with this link:

Passcode: 1234

You can also use the Meeting ID by entering it directly into you browser:

Meeting ID: 519 315 8573

Passcode: 1234

Or call in by phjone: "One tap mobile"


US (San Jose) +16694449171,,5193158573# US

Reflection: "Hatred Will Vanish"

Embracing the True Message of Christmas

Growing up in Ramallah, Palestine, as a third-generation refugee, I would wait with anticipation each year during the Christmas Eve mass for the singing of the Arabic hymn, Layalat Al-Milad (“On Christmas Night”). The hymn promises that on Christmas Eve,

“Hatred will vanish, the earth will bloom, war will be buried, and love will be born.”

The hymn further details how we, as Christians, must embrace the true message of Christmas by offering a glass of water to those who are thirsty, clothing a naked person with a gown of love, wiping tears from weeping eyes, and filling the hearts of all with hope. Finally, it speaks of our personal responsibility in this, by refraining from hypocrisy, ridding ourselves of the spirit of revenge, and softening our hearts as our souls melt into God.

This hymn is deeply personal to me. Singing it made me feel seen and heard as a Palestinian, by acknowledging the decades-long suffering and injustices we have endured. It directly attacks the very notion of war and points to acts of love and compassion as the only path in overcoming hate.

This is easier said than done, yet it is essential for understanding the true meaning of Christmas. The hymn also provides a plan of action for the darkest of times, prompting us to not only acknowledge and empathize with the suffering of others but take action to alleviate such suffering as an expression of God’s love.

Sadly, this Christmas, the hymn’s promises seem painfully far-fetched as Palestinians continue to be subjected to the most intense escalation of violence we have seen.

For years, I have found that the Advent and Christmas story parallels the Palestinian experience: Mary and Joseph’s displacement to Bethlehem from Nazareth, the closing of all doors that would grant Mary the dignity of giving birth to the Son of God, forcible postpartum transfer to Egypt, and the subsequent marginalization and rejection of Jesus and his revolutionary teachings about the power of altruistic love and personal sacrifice in the face of hatred, oppression, and injustice.

Mary, like many Palestinian mothers, was resilient in the face of a system that discriminated against her and her newborn child.

Like so many mothers in Palestine, she would later experience the tragic loss of her son, who fell victim to an unholy alliance of corrupt religion, violent imperial power, self-interest, and greed. As he takes upon himself all of the cruelty, humiliation, and death-dealing violence that the empire has to offer, we put our hope in his resurrection for salvation and victory.

Reflection by: Saleem Alhabash, PhD

Co-Chair, FOSNA Board of Trustees

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