Our Nazareth Christmas Parade project was probably the most amazing project that I’ve ever been a part of in my calling as a Pastor in Nazareth. We had more than 16,000 visitors in Nazareth from all over Israel – Jews, Arabs, traditional Christians, and Druze. They had all come to experience Christmas in Nazareth and they were not disappointed! 

The atmosphere was wonderful and Christmas cheer was all around. Our participation in the parade had an evangelistic purpose — to proclaim that Jesus is the Reason for the Season and to reveal the love of Jesus to all of these visitors — and that’s exactly what happened!

Before the parade started, me and my team — Suleiman, Elias, Rami, and Yusuf — took time to prepare our church van with Christmas decorations and scriptures that pointed to Jesus being the Reason for the Season, and that He is the only way to Salvation. We also dressed our team in official Home of Jesus the King shirts to ensure that the crowds of people would recognize us as Arab Christians who love and bless the nation of Israel, regardless if they’re Jews, Arabs, Druze, or Beduins. We have come to bless all people at the parade in the name of Jesus Christ.

On our shirts were printed a key verse that the Lord gave me for this particular Christmas, found in Acts 4:12 – “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” We were going to be witnesses for Christ on the main street of Nazareth — in our words, our actions, and our clothing! Through the support of our partners, we were ready to start the parade and to hand out 800 Christmas gift packets to the children and families of Nazareth!

As the parade kicked off, we could sense the presence of the Lord all around us. We knew that that this undertaking was going to be a holy moment that God would use to lift up the name of Jesus in Nazareth. We accompanied our church van through the main street, handing out Christmas gifts to excited kids and joyous Israelis from all walks of life. 

There were so many people calling out for gifts that we were constantly running between the van to collect the gifts, and back to the crowds on the sidewalks to hand them out. It was incredible to see how Muslim children, mothers, and fathers were rejoicing in the Christmas celebrations and eager to receive a gift in the name of Jesus. The message that Jesus is the Reason for the Season was being delivered to all in attendance.

As we continued handing out gifts while we made our way down main street, we had two Muslim girls join us in handing our Christmas gifts. They were parade marshals, but they were so touched by our project that they decided to join us in the work of the Lord. What a testimony! God was touching hearts right there on the main street of Nazareth!

Many people testified to us right there on the street that this was the real way to celebrate Christmas — to give and not just to walk in the parade, because no other organizations were giving out gifts. Our Santa (Rami) was always telling people on the street that Jesus is the reason for the Season, and not Santa himself. Many of the Muslim children that received gifts from us, were heard shouting: “Thank you Jesus for the gift!” Another Muslim lady lady testified to me, saying: “Wow, Jesus is still using people to show the love of Christmas!” Even the police and the security guards in attendance were excited by the Christmas atmosphere and with the Christmas gifts that we were handing out. 

I have a beautiful testimony to share from the parade. A little Muslim boy approached me and asked if he could please get a gift pack with a soccer ball. I told him that I didn’t have anymore with me, but that I would go and look in our van. He followed me for more than 50 meters to see if I would find him a ball. At the van I was rummaging around inside and thankfully found a gift pack with a soccer ball. The boy was ecstatic! With tears of joy, he told me that he had wanted a soccer ball for so long, but that his Das was too poor to buy him one. I told the boy that the ball was a gift from Jesus and that He loved him. Amen!

The crowd was a mixture of the different demographics of Israel, and we were able to sow the seeds of the Gospel into many lives during the parade. Whenever we would bless someone with a gift, we would also tell them that Jesus sent us to bless them with this gift because He loves them.

During the parade we were also welcomed by the parade announcer as the first evangelical baptist church to be a part of this specific Christmas Eve parade. The other organizations in the parade were mostly nominal Christian churches and non-profit organizations.  The crowd welcomed us warmly and clapped their hands, and we understood what a miracle it was to have been invited to share in this parade. 

We’ve already been invited back for next year’s parade — what a testimony!

We are lifting our vision higher for next year’s parade and aim to bless the people in attendance with more than 3000 Christmas gifts. The 800 Christmas gifts that we prepared for this years parade were all handed out within 30 minutes! These gift packs contained chocolates and candies, a toy, a coloring book about “Jesus being the Reason for the Season,” as well as a fridge magnet declaring Acts 4:12 – “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Through these Christmas gifts that you helped support, the Word of God is coming inside the homes of Israeli Jews, Arabs, Muslim, and Druze families — hallelujah!

The fruits of this Christmas outreach were phenomenal! We received so many text messages, phone calls, and emails of people thanking us for the blessing that Home of Jesus the King Church has been to the people of Nazareth. Many people testified how they were enjoying the spectacle of the parade, but that when we started handing out gifts, they really felt what Christmas is supposed to be — a celebration of the birth of Jesus and a time for generous giving. 

Your prayers and donations were powerful seeds that impacted thousands of people this Christmas! We are seeing so much fruit and so many testimonies come forth from our Christmas project, and it makes us understand that it’s only because of Jesus’ intimate involvement in our work. We wish you were with us, and we pray that the doors to Israel will be open so that you can join us and participate at next year’s Christmas parade alongside us.

If you missed the opportunity to bless Nazareth for Christmas this time around, don’t worry! You still have time to be a blessing to the people of Nazareth and the surrounding villages this winter. When you stand with us, you see results for the Kingdom of God! Our aim over the next couple of weeks is to distribute 400 wool blankets and 100 electric heaters to the poor of Nazareth and the surrounding villages. 

Please prayerfully consider sowing into our Winter Project to bless Holocaust Survivors, Arab and Jewish senior citizens, and poor families in and around Nazareth with warm wool blankets at $10 each, or an electric heater at $40 each.

Thank you so much for the impact that you made on Nazareth and the nation of Israel this Christmas! We love and appreciate you!

To view our Christmas parade videos, as well as the rest of our video archive, please visit us at homejtk.org

Here below you can also view our entire photo album from this year’s Christmas Parade project. Enjoy!

Pastor Saleem