Palestinian Christians turn to media as Bethlehem cancels Christmas

Christians in the Middle East, including Palestinian Christians are typically isolated, says SAT-7 USA a media outreach to the region, however TV and online media can still provide a huge point of connection.

“How do you celebrate Christmas when you’re the only believer on your street?” It’s a valid question especially since Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, has cancelled its traditional Christmas celebrations this year. Amid the turmoil of the Israel-Hamas war, Bethlehem’s leaders reportedly feel it’s inappropriate to hold festivities, and the town’s Christian elders agree.

However “Bethlehem’s Baby is still the hope of the world.” From its headquarters in the Middle East, Christian media ministry SAT-7 USA is using every possible channel to unite isolated believers across the region, including many Palestinian Christians who feel lonely and forgotten this Christmas.

“It’s a difficult time for Christians in the Middle East, a typically isolated minority,” says SAT-7 USA. Just like the very first Christmas recorded in the Bible when there was no room in the inn for Mary and Joseph, there’s no place of belonging for many followers of Jesus this Christmas.”

Many feel that they are the ‘only believer in town’. Only 3% of the region’s population is Christian, and the number is far lower in countries such as Afghanistan and Iran, where Christianity is suppressed and its followers are routinely discriminated against, cut off by their families, imprisoned, or sometimes even killed for their beliefs.

Palestinian Christians ‘not alone this Christmas’

“How do you celebrate Christmas when you’re the only believer on your street – or the only one in your town?” asks Rex Rogers, president of SAT-7 USA. “How do you celebrate Christ’s birth together when churches are banned? “Our message to viewers is that you’re not alone this Christmas.”

Through the ministry’s live satellite television broadcasts, online streaming, and social media, secluded believers who cannot celebrate Christmas openly are able to join live worship, participate in live Bible-based discussions in their own language, and chat in real-time with others who understand their struggles.

“As Christians, we always felt few and lonely,” said Samia, a believer in the region. “Here, life is not easy. There is no sense of protection and security for Christians. But God gives us a special grace. Now, we are part of the SAT-7 family.”

Bethlehem’s Baby ‘Still Hope of the World’

With more than 2.3 billion followers, Christianity is the world’s largest religion and the Gospel is spreading across the Middle East via phones and digital devices, even in remote mountain and desert areas that a few years ago were unreachable.

“The Christmas story and its message of love and forgiveness has never been more desperately needed” in the troubled region, said Rex Rogers, a frequent visitor to the Middle East. “As wars, rockets and acts of terrorism fuel distress and fear in every corner of the region, the baby in the Bethlehem manger is still the hope of the world.”

About SAT-7

Launched in 1996, SAT-7 USA, with its international headquarters in Cyprus, broadcasts Christian and educational satellite television and online programming into the Middle East and North Africa. Its mission is to make the Gospel available to everyone, and support the Church in its life, work and witness for Jesus Christ. SAT-7 broadcasts 24/7 in Arabic, Farsi (Persian), Dari, and Turkish, using multiple satellite channels and online services.

Let’s pray for Christians Across the Middle East, especially the Palestinian Christians: see A prayer for Gaza – Let’s intercede for the Palestinian People and Church in Gaza

Also Read:  ‘Unto us a child is born’ – Focus on the Family Pro-Life Ad speaks volumes at Christmas

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