With Christmas coming we asked Pastor Edward from Damascus to share how Syrians are preparing for the festive season, and how he wants to focus on the real message of Christmas.
“Christmas is a challenging thing,” he says. “Now people want to express their joy and they want to celebrate Christmas in a very big way. It’s a challenge, because sometimes it really distracts people from what Christmas is really about. The people want to have parades, they want to have Santa Claus, they want to have big parties – especially now, after the difficult years.
“We’re encouraged to do so by our environment; the government gives us all the freedom to celebrate and supports such celebrations, which is good, which is amazing. But the challenge is really to bring up the real message of Christmas, the message of love, the message of incarnation. The message: there is a Saviour who came and who really lived among us. This message must come out these days. So we will definitely try to do both – celebrate and have our special Christmas folklore or Christmas celebrations, but at the same time make sure that Jesus, the Christmas hero, is really glorified.”
Pastor Edward says that Christmas can be ‘a great way to attract people and to really get their attention’.
“So we try our best by God’s grace. I have a wonderful team, they have ideas [for] how to really get the attention of the people and bring the message in a very relevant way to their suffering and to their pain. This is very, very crucial. How can one celebrate and at the same time be full of wounds inside? This is a contradiction in some way. But it seems the real Christmas 2000 years ago was the same. When Christ was born it wasn’t Christmas celebrations all over. When He was born it was dark and it was hostility all around. There were broken hearts and pain everywhere; that is what justifies His work. This is why He came. Because this is our situation. So we really like to shed light on how the message of Christmas can be the answer to our pain and the hostilities that are going on around us.
“My Christmas wish for this year – from the bottom of my heart my wish, with no hesitation or with no second thought – is to find the church of Jesus Christ inside my country as one body in real genuine unity standing up for the truth and glorying Jesus. When the church is healthy in the country that’s a great promise for the rest of the country.”
“We thank you for your prayers and we ask you to pray for the church, the leaders of the church and the people who work in ministry to keep focused on the glory of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. And at the same time to give us the wisdom how to deal with grief and how to deal with those emotional wounds that we face every day. Again, thank you for your prayers.”
Your prayers and support are keeping hope alive in Syria, enabling Open Doors local church partners like Pastor Edward to provide food for over 12,000 vulnerable families every month – thank you.
Watch and share our special version of Silent Night to help you pray for Syria over Christmas. Check out the video and other Christmas ideas at the link below. Plus you can get a free mp3 of the track too!
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.