We are about to enter the Christmas season, and the town of Hanley, Staffordshire (England) thought it would be appropriately festive to set up a Middle Eastern bazaar for their Christmas festival, to the point of even flying in rug merchants from Morocco, and offering camel rides. But it seems that the local residents there are confused, with many complaining that a German marketplace is more appropriate to represent Christmas time. Having been to Germany a few times, I can attest that the Germans really do know how to get into the Christmas spirit, and they are not shy about hanging out Christian symbols during the season. However, the Middle East is the historical heartland of Christianity and its people have an association with Jesus Christ since He walked in their midst nearly 2,000 years ago. All Christians are part of a faith with deep roots in the Middle East, as are the Muslims and the Jews. Although the Christian communities of the Middle East are diminishing in size due to the troubles in the region, there is still a significant Christian minority in the Muslim countries of the East. These people are almost invisible to Westerners who see and hear only about the Muslim majority populating that area, but their voices are occasionally heard as you may hear in the beautiful hymn that I am offering to my readers.
Orthodox Christians are about to enter the 40-day Nativity Fast which ends on the day of the Nativity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. To all my readers, I offer my well wishes to you during this Holy Season, and pray that God may bestow His blessings upon you.
Excerpt: “But when one council announced that it will be marking the festive season by setting up a Middle Eastern bazaar the link appeared to be entirely lost on some residents. Residents of Hanley, Staffs, complained that the idea was not “Christmassy” enough and said that a wintry German market would be more appropriate. Some even claimed that the associations with the region would make it “Muslim” and would have nothing to do with the birth of Christ.”
UPDATE: Please pray for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East who are suffering terrible persecutions this Christmas season, particularly in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt.
The full article was found at the electronic edition of The Telegraph (UK).