Christian Arab church spread the love of Jesus and Christmas cheer 

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Salim Shalash

As is their custom, church members of Home of Jesus the King in Nazareth are making the most of the Christmas holiday using the opportunity to reach out to people in need and open doors to share the love of God. 

Twice a year — at Christmas and Easter — the church embarks on several different humanitarian projects to bless its Jewish, Muslim and traditional Christian neighbors.

“The only reason to do these outreach projects is to reach the hearts of the people,” Pastor Saleem Shalash told KNI. “Every project opens doors.”

This year the church distributed more than 200 food boxes to families in need in Nazareth. Shalash said families were emotionally overwhelmed by the gift.

Shalash

“When you give food it is the same thing Jesus did — feed the people and then after that teach them.”

Invariably the recipients ask why the church is doing this.

“When we get that question, we have the answer,” Shalash said. “To the Jews we tell them this is your Messiah, these are your scriptures. Then we show what the Bible teaches about the love of Jesus and how he teaches us to love and to give. The same with the Muslims — we want to show them the love of Jesus.”

This year the church also partnered with the Latin Scouts and other traditional Christians to bring Christmas gifts to residents of a home for the elderly in Nazareth. The scouts played Christmas music while the adults shared about the love of God and spent quality time with the residents. 

Shalash also led a team of 45 volunteers, family members and youth from Home of Jesus the King Church to the Children’s Department at Nazareth’s French Hospital. They brought Christmas gifts and sang Christmas songs. One doctor asked the group to sing in the emergency ward.

“As we started singing Christmas songs and glorifying Jesus, we saw something amazing happen. All the windows of the hospital opened and faces started peeking out to see what was going on and to be a part of the celebration outside. Even people from the surrounding areas came to investigate! Our young people started to dance and to clap, and people from the hospital, as well as from the neighborhood came to join us in singing and dancing! Among them were Muslims, Christian and Jews! Even the nun who were in charge of the entire hospital came out to thank us, and to join us in song and dance. For 45 minutes we continued like this, and it was like heaven on earth. It was such a testimony of how people can be united in joy and peace when Jesus is glorified. He is indeed the reason for the season,” Shalash reported in the church’s newsletter.

The church also visited patients at the Italian Hospital in Nazareth; distributed 1,500 evangelistic calendars to Christians, Muslims and Jews alike in Nazareth.

The only reason the church didn’t print more calendars or distribute more food boxes was a lack of funding. Shalash said the vision is to expand its projects since each on reached more people.

“Every project opens more doors for us,” he said. 

The church is also looking to expand its property and its work through a new building. 

To learn more about the church and its work, contact Pastor Saleem at [email protected]