The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'Do not fear'

Christmas letters from Jerusalem

Dear friends and family, dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

While it has been many years since we've sent out a Christmas letter, it seems important and necessary to do so this year. We've even been required to get it out early, as in the days of untrustworthy, painstaking mail delivery from Jerusalem to other parts of the world.

At the beginning of the 20th century, during the Ottoman Empire, we would probably have chosen to use one of the more reliable European post offices in Jerusalem to send on our letter to the United States. Most likely, because of our former pastorate in Vienna, we would have made our way to the impressive Austrian Post Office inside the Old City's Jaffa Gate, a building which now houses the Christian Information Center. And while we carried this pile of letters through the dusty, stone streets we would have been thinking of Vienna1s Christmas markets, fragrant with hot spiced wine and Leibkuchen (huge, decorated ginger cookies), and then our memories would arc across the ocean to the evergreen freshness and family traditions of the Midwest and of New England.

So we write to you at the end of October, with very different images in our hearts and minds, and without knowing what will be in the headlines when you receive this letter.

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