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Despite canceled Christmas celebrations, Nazareth church Home of Jesus the King ‘spreads the joy of Christmas’

Church prepared over 4,000 gift packets declaring ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season’

Home of Jesus the King Church in Nazareth distributing Christmas Care Packages Photo: Pastor Saleem Shalash

When ALL ISRAEL NEWS interviewed Pastor Saleem Shalash of Home of Jesus the King Church in Nazareth last month, he mentioned that the city of Nazareth had decided to cancel the annual Christmas parade this year.

Because of the war in Gaza, Christmas celebrations in several communities have been canceled, including Jerusalem and Bethlehem. 

“You know, now we are preparing for Christmas. Look how the devil is working. Every year, we have the wonderful parade in Nazareth. 60,000 Muslims and Jews coming to Nazareth,” Shalash said. “So, this year it’s canceled.” 

Pastor Shalash said he decided not to let the cancellation get him down. 

“I went into my war room and I said, ‘God, what do you mean to do?’” 

Shalash decided to decorate the church van with a sign saying, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” in three languages: English, Hebrew, and Arabic. He also decided that if the people couldn’t come to the parade, the church would go out to the people to distribute gifts. 

He said that God told him: “I want you to travel in Nof HaGalil [the Jewish neighborhood] and Nazareth, to give Jewish children and Arab children these gifts and not stop, even if the parade is canceled.” 

And Home of Jesus the King has been very busy despite Christmas being officially canceled. 

The church handed out over 4,000 Christmas gift packs, assembled by volunteers from the congregation, which contained a package of chocolates, toys, and a magnet saying “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” 

They distributed the packages in Nazareth and Haifa, where they have a daughter congregation. 

In Haifa, the church held a Christmas party at a kindergarten, where they distributed the packages and played games and Christmas music for the children. In addition, the church hosted a Christmas party in the Haifa congregation building. 

Home of Jesus the King Church Christmas party at a kindergarten (Photo courtesy)

In Nof HaGalil, the Jewish neighborhood of Nazareth, the church prepared 480 special care packages for families whose husbands and fathers had been called up for military duty because of the Israel-Hamas war. The packages were filled with holiday treats and snacks, as well as a special challah bread, so they could have a festive and blessed Shabbat. 

“We felt compelled to bless them and comfort them for Shabbat by letting them know that we are here for them, that they are not alone, to add some light and sweetness to their day,” Shalash explained.

The congregation also distributed care packages at the Nazareth Retirement Home with toiletries, a towel, and a small packet of chocolates

Many poor, elderly people come to the Talpiot market to collect vegetables and fruits that have been damaged or are not visually appealing, as they don’t have enough money to pay for all of their food needs. Most of this population is Jewish. Home of Jesus the King Church was able to distribute food packages to them, blessing them as well.

Shalash said: “When we started handing out food packages to the needy, we were met with shock and disbelief. These dear people have never before seen Israeli Arabs blessing the Jewish people and showing them such love!” 

All who received were very thankful, smiling and asking questions about the church. 

J. Micah Hancock is a current Master’s student at the Hebrew University, pursuing a degree in Jewish History. Previously, he studied Biblical studies and journalism in his B.A. in the United States. He joined All Israel News as a reporter in 2022, and currently lives near Jerusalem with his wife and children.

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