An Advent Letter From Janet Lahr Lewis

December 10, 2009

Dear Friends,

It is the Advent season, and here in Bethlehem people have hung the lights and put up the Christmas trees, despite the concern that Christians will be denied permits again this year [and thus will not be allowed to] get together with family members who live in Jerusalem or inside Israel.
Every month a group of people like me who work for different denominations in the U.S. get together to discuss new resources, advocacy ideas, and to share information so as to best utilize our time and collective energy. This group is known as the Ecumenical Advisory Group and is intended to be a contact in the land called "Holy" for our different denominations who may want more information, advice on advocacy initiatives, or just a general resource for more information on the situation or for assistance in hosting groups to the region.
Each year we put together a letter at Advent and Lent with the hope that the different churches will share the letter with their congregations – not only as a reminder that we are all one in the body of Christ, but with hope that people will remember the Christians of the land of Jesus who have been faithful witnesses for thousands of years, and be moved to ease their suffering.
Please take a moment to read the letter, pass it on to friends, read it to your congregations, and pray for all those around the world and in Bethlehem who are unable to enjoy the season, but still manage to find hope and solace in the knowledge of Christ's birth.
May the blessings of the season be with you all!
Janet Lahr Lewis
United Methodist Liaison in Israel and Palestine