Baghdad: Christmas Time In The Most Dangerous Place In The World

ÇÍÊÌÇÌÇÊ ÇáÇØÝÇáThis report is by my friend Canon Andrew White, based in Baghdad. Canon is in ministry work in Iraq.
Love Came Down at Christmas in BaghdadHere in Baghdad we know nothing of the normal festivities of Christmas. There are no normal festivities, centred around the giving and receiving of gifts like in the West but there is one thing we truly celebrate. We are faced by continued tragedy here in Baghdad and the whole of Iraq. Iraq may no longer be in the news but the violence and tragedy are getting greater by the day. The violence has also recommenced towards the Christians just this week a large number were shot through the head. The one thing though that we truly celebrate is that Love came down at Christmas, love all lovely love divine, love was born at Christmas, star and angels gave the sign.Here Christmas is such a time of celebration and it has nothing to do with anything apart from the birth of our Lord. It is almost as if the worse the situation has become the more important the celebration of ones faith has become. As the people always say here “When you have lost everything Jesus is all you have left”. We may have lost everything but the one thing we have left is so important to us all through the year but especially at this time when we when we celebrate His coming.

The angels appearing at the news of our Lords coming are so important to us. When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary an when Gabriel appeared to Joseph in a dream and when the Angles appeared to shepherds watching the sheep the Angel declared “Do not be afraid”. We hear the angels saying to us loudly and clearly do not be afraid. For us it is not a theoretical proclamation. We are surrounded by fear. I stood up in church this evening and looked at my dear people. It suddenly struck me that there was not one family there who had not had members of their family killed in the terror and violence that surrounds us.

They have all been injured so badly by the terror and turmoil yet Christmas means to them they are not ruled by fear. Fear can paralyse but we have to move onwards and upwards. All the time people here talk about the joy of Christmas, the liberation of Christmas and the joy of this time. The worship is extra joyful and extra triumphant. It is in worship that real hope is found. This is the love that came down at Christmas. Therefore we:
Worship we the Godhead, Love incarnate, love divine, Worship we our Jesus, but wherewith for sacred sign?

So it is in the love of our Jesus that we are celebrating and rejoicing this Christmas. We are not depressed or sad we are full of joy, hope and happiness. Maybe if you are to see the true meaning of Christmas you need to come to the most dangerous place in the world. For hear we have already lost everything and Jesus is our all and everything. The final verse of “Love Came Down at Christmas” says it all.
Love shall be our token
Love shall be yours and love be mine
Love to God and to all men
Love for plea and gift and sign…

Pastor Dewey Note: Let us cover all the people in Iraq in our prayers at all times. We pray for the end of murder, the end the killing of God’s children, the end of war, in Jesus name, Amen!

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