Christmas Like No Other

Posted on 29 December 2023

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The day was upon us finally – Christmas, and we could all rejoice at the marvellous deeds of salvation which God gave to the world in lovingkindness. Yes, we are talking about the birth of Jesus or commemorating and celebrating the birth of our dear LORD, the world’s Saviour. We are also reminded of the terrible situation in the Middle East.

Christmas celebration was cancelled this year in Bethlehem of all places, the birthplace of Christ. Yes, the unthinkable happened and now the ugly forces at play that led to the cancellation will probably feel emboldened to create the same environment that will lead to the cancellation of Easter too in Bethlehem, a few months from now.

No Christmas

The Christian community in Bethlehem and Gaza suffers in silence and hardship while most of us in regions of the world not experiencing war are enjoying plenty of food, gifts and precious time spent with loved ones at this time of the year. Despite the terrible atrocities and collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinians as a whole by the Israeli government, the systemic hardship and marginalisation of Palestinian Christians which has been going on before 7th October is hardly, if ever mentioned on news programs.

Gaza in ruins
Gaza in ruins

God sees their plight and of all the afflicted and oppressed. But there is something particular to someone who is a brother or sister in Christ that Scripture compels us to act. We are invited to see their humanity and in doing so, see it in others as well.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6: 9 – 10 [ESV]

That is precisely the point, Palestinian Christians may be out of sight, but they can never be out of mind. This applies not just to them but to Christians everywhere enduring hardships and persecution for the sake of Christ.

Humanity of Jesus

The sermon by the Lutheran Palestinian Pastor posed a question to all humanity; most especially Christians living in the West. He asked, “Where is your humanity?” Drawing a parallel with baby Jesus having to flee and seek refuge in Egypt to escape the murderous rage of King Herod the Great (Matthew 2:16 – 18); the Palestinians sadly cannot flee for fear they will never be allowed to return to their homeland once the war is over.

Christ Under The Rubble

They feel trapped between wanting an escape from their horrible predicament to a safe country and a sincerely held desire to remain connected to their homeland for fear should they leave for a safe country; the Israeli government will never allow them to return home.

Notwithstanding, Christians everywhere should be feeling their pain as they are members of the body of Christ.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.

1 Corinthians 12:26 [ESV]

Can we honestly say we feel the suffering of Palestinian Christians?

Has their cry touched your heart and moved you to pray their witness for Christ in the midst of suffering results in praise of God’s glory?

We’ll keep watching. May God strengthen their resolve and cause their light in Christ to burn and shine brighter for the whole world to see.

Jesus predicted the upheaval Christians would face in this world and I leave you with this thought from the LORD Himself who said,

 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 [ESV]

Isaac Eboji

Isaac Eboji is a lay preacher at Kingsbury Baptist Church and is committed to the life of the Church. He is happily married to a lovely woman, Kelli. They have two wonderful children. Outside of Church-related interests, his other passions are web design and development, video editing, and production. He enjoys a good workout in the gym whenever he gets around to doing it. He follows most sports, especially football and rugby.

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