Amidst the devastation caused by the ongoing war in Syria, the Bible Society there has been hard at work preparing for Christmas.
“This is a busy time of the year. We are happy to be in His service right now. It’s exciting!” says George Andrea, Director of the Bible Society in Syria. “We’ve just printed a special Christmas storybook, which we’ll be providing as gifts to young children, our Scripture calendars have been sent out to churches across the country, and you wouldn’t believe how many Scripture shipments we’ve sent over this Christmas season! The Word of God is truly at work in Syria!”
The Bible Society is also running Christmas programs in different churches, particularly in Damascus and the south of Syria. These are especially aimed at bringing hope to very poor families.
Hope to poor families
“Some time back, we came across an area of Damascus where there is so much poverty, and this has very much been on our hearts,” explains Mr Andrea. “This will be the second year that we’re going into churches in the area, in partnership with a large church in Damascus, to run the Christmas programs.
“One of the young people from the church has written a short Christmas drama, and a team of young people has prepared the games, songs and music. It will be a Christmas to remember for the children and families who come to the celebrations. We’ll give out Scriptures and bags of candy and dried fruit to all who attend.”
In Aleppo, scene of the deadliest conflict of the war over the past few months, the Bible Society will also be carrying out Scripture distributions and Christmas programs in different churches. Mr Andrea, who is based in Aleppo, along with most of the Bible Society staff, says that the churches there have remained active throughout the very worst of the bombardments.
“Not only by holding funeral services, although there have been far too many of those, but also by offering community-centred services, which are so badly needed,” he explains.
Church is part of people’s lives
“It may be difficult for people in other parts of the world to understand just how much the Church is part of people’s lives here in the Middle East. Yes, there are many people who never attend church but once there is a crisis more and more people get in touch with the Church because it remains there, in the midst of the crisis.
“The Church doesn’t only look after its own members – thousands of families from other communities have been helped for years, and the aid is given with no strings attached. It would be very difficult to find a church in Syria which does not actively help people.
“I believe that the Church is both salt and light in our country, and we need both in order to rebuild. Please pray that the light will not be put out and that the salt will not lose its saltiness.”