There were no large Christmas for Refugees events this year with hundreds of children celebrating the birth of our Lord except in Syria and Nigeria. The events may have been toned down, but they were still about Jesus. Instead of games and song, children received special gifts.
Because of COVID-19, more Christmas events held this year in Lebanon for children than in the rest of the Middle East because the events will be smaller. In most instances children will walk through one at a time indoors, but because of local rules, some will be held outdoors.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic this Christmas season, it was apparent that changes had to be made to our traditional Christmas programs. Here are the new guidelines for the 2020 Christmas for Refugees program.
Our Christmas events normally range between 100 and 700 kids in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, and Bethlehem. But this year the Covid-19 situation will force me to arrange for smaller and therefore many more events. This will bring up the cost… can we do it?
Our ministry partners in the Middle East have begun preparations for Christmas programs regardless of the uncertainty. Areas that were locked down during the early Covid-19 outbreak and then reopened are once again in lockdown. Will those areas be open in December?
The Christmas for Refugees program has become a tradition in several nations, showing the love of Christians here in America for the Christian children who have suffered so much under Islamic oppression. We must plan as if every event will be held in every country we serve, regardless of the situations that may exist now.
Several Christmas events were held in Jordan in 2019. The situations the children live in as refugees are just as bad as the worst inner-city slums we have in Detroit or Baltimore. At the same time, there is a flagrant display of wealth in opulent malls, restaurants and social gathering places. This kind of opulence is nowhere to be seen in the Christian villages.
Two Christmas for Refugees events were held in the Holy Land this year. Please pray for the Christians of the West bank, particularly the children. As far as Israel is concerned, they are Palestinians and not welcome in Israel. They are unwanted by the Muslims that control the West Bank and unwanted by Israel. They are literally refugees in the land where their families lived long before the time Jesus was born there.
The Christmas program in 2019 was the third we have held at the orphanage in Nigeria. At all times we must be reminded that most of the children have lost both parents to Islamic groups such as the Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen. Just as was done for Christmas in 2017 all the children received shoes again in 2019. The day long Christmas celebration included puppet shows and each age group performed in a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
In Iraq our ministry partner is working on ways to better reach out to families that participate, and to provide them spiritual support. The same is true of our Diapers for Refugees program. We want to do more than just provide a service; we want to help families get connected to a local church and develop a lasting relationship with the Lord.