Christmas Message from MECC General Secretary
A Christmas message from the Middle East
“Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…” (Luke 2.10)
Whether it is by means of poem or through the quotes from the Bible, Christmas is the perfect time to instill in us the messages that Jesus Christ wanted us to follow. The Heavenly angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherd near Bethlehem. God’s blessing has worked through our lives to bring forth Jesus “Emanuel”, the Son of God, and to proclaim the Good News to the world. The shepherds were amazed with what they have seen at the stable where Jesus was born. They were filled with love, joy and hope. But they did stop there forever. They went to proclaim the Good News to the world. They became messengers of Jesus Christ the savior. “So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor 5:20) was the theme of the 9th MECC General Assembly that took place this year at Paphos/Cyprus. Churches who gathered at the Assembly reflected prayerfully on this theme. With hope Churches and Christians in the Middle East are continuing their journey of witness, hope and love. More than two thousands years have passed when the people in the Middle East were first called “Christians” at Antioch, and cost them a lot of martyrdom, but never ceased doing that in different ways. Churches’ history can tell painful stories of the love and peace that Christ can offer. People in Palestine are suffering for more than half a century from endless occupation, deprived of their rights to have their independent state, and thousands became refugees all around the world without being able to return and see the olive tree which they have planted. Christians of Iraq are threatened, displaced and became refugees in the surrounding countries with little hope to return home. The Lebanese are facing difficult times of ongoing political dispute between parties and denominations which lead people to despair.
Yet, the story of the shepherds encourages us to see that there is light above the clouds, and there is hope to witness Christ’s grace in this turbulent world. The joy at the birth of Jesus is always attached with love, humbleness, purity and hope.
At this Christmas time, let’s call on God’s grace to bring peace to the world and in particular to the Middle East. Let’s open our hearts to receive Jesus Christ with love. Let’s become the “ambassadors for Christ” in proclaiming the Good News.
May the love of God and the joy of the born Christ be with us all.
Guirgis Ibrahim Saleh