This Holy Christmas Season think about helping the children in your life get closer to Christ our Lord and Savior. Some people are totally shocked at the prices of Orthodox books which feed our soul but will not complain about the toys and clothes they buy which feed our consumerism. A new book for children, Coloring with Christina, helps children walk the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ as they color the sacred and holy sites.
This educational coloring book for preschoolers is based on the original story, Christina Goes to the Holy Land, to help children love and appreciate the sacred and precious land of our Lord's birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection. Like all of the eight special books in the CHRISTINA series, the Holy Land books aim at preserving and documenting valuable traditions reflecting the treasures of faith.
The two Holy Land children's books reflect the deep roots of Christianity in Palestine and promote visiting the Holy Land. However, the book for adults, Witness in the Holy Land, reflects the suffering, pain, struggle and day to day psychological torture experienced by all, Christians and Muslims, living in the Holy Land under military occupation. The personal unedited stories focus on the efforts of the Christian community to survive in a land holy to so many yet has experienced too much bloodshed as the Christian community has now dropped below 2% of the total 4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
Waking up the Orthodox Christian communities around the world to care and to connect themselves to the Christian community in the Holy Land has led me to feel like a small voice in the wilderness as I live in the only 100% Christian village remaining in Palestine on the highest mountain region of the West Bank seeing the lights of Jerusalem at night and the Dead Sea on a bright clear day. The Lord came to this area of Ephraim right before His crucifixion later taking on the modern name of Taybeh in the 12th century as mentioned in the Gospel of John 11:54.
Three community service projects to reflect how I understand God's commandment to love my neighbor have been volunteering my efforts and time to promote housing, education and jobs in Taybeh. I work as a volunteer for St. George Greek Orthodox Church with the support of CHRISTINA BOOKS net profits and my family.
The Taybeh Orthodox Housing Project established in 1998 helped raise $112,000.00 to help twelve families start their first homes which are currently not finished. This project was aimed at giving families hope and helping them meet one of their basic needs to stay in the Holy Land and help maintain our Christian population.
The Taybeh Education Fund established in 2006 is currently under $9,000 as an endowment fund to use net interest profits to pay university tuition locally in Palestine giving young people hope to stay in the Holy Land and meeting the basic need of education.
The Taybeh Oktoberfest first organized in 2005 has been a successful annual village festival boosting the economy by bringing thousands of internationals to the village to purchase items made by the four women cooperatives such as oil, honey, embroidery, olive woods, ceramic lamps and the famous Taybeh Beer which entices people to visit the village and boost the economy. Please visit www.saintgeorgetaybeh.org and support our witness or better yet visit us on the next Oktoberfest, Oct 11-12, 2008.
The new Christina Book, Coloring with Christina, also includes simple text for children to explain the importance of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Christ and Jerusalem as the place of Christ's Holy Resurrection. Furthermore, it's spiritually enriched with quotes from the holy gospels making it wonderful for bedtime reading or Sunday school classes that have time for supplemental and enriched learning. Thus, as the author of Orthodox Christian literature, I can only highly recommend that every child take the journey of a life-time with Christina that every believer hopes to undertake with virtual reality by Coloring with Christina.
Dr. Khoury is the chairperson of the Taybeh Orthodox Housing Project which has started to build twelve homes for Orthodox Christian families in Taybeh-Ramallah to help maintain the Christian presence in the Holy Land with the help of the Boston Greek Orthodox Metropolis.
She was born in the US, but moved to Taybeh (biblical Ephraim) after marrying David Khoury, an Orthodox Christian Palestinian.
Maria Khoury is author of Witness in the Holy Land and the children's book, "Christina's True Heroes" about seven women saints.