Over 1,000 refugees are celebrating the joy of Christmas this Advent at special events organised by LSESD in partnership with Christmas For Refugees.
Families are enjoying the festivities at parties being held across Lebanon at partner churches. At each celebration the Christmas story is being brought alive through a puppet show and songs led either by LSESD’s Baptist Children and Youth Ministry [BCYM] or local church teams. The children are given a free Story of Jesus booklet to take home, courtesy of Dar Manhal Al Hayat. After exploring the real meaning of Christmas, the children eat a delicious meal. At the end of each Christmas event, every family receives a Christmas present of a $40 food voucher. The majority of these families have not received food aid from LSESD before.
Children and adults have thoroughly enjoyed the events held so far. For Lamia* aged nine, the puppet show was the highlight of the celebration she attended. That Jesus is with her, and not just in heaven, really touched her. “Jesus is not only in the sky, he is in my heart,” she said.
Jad*, a ten year old boy, loved the presentation about Christmas and singing songs at the event he attended. He is looking forward to Christmas Day when he will perform in a Christmas play with his friend Raad*. He is enjoying Christmas in Lebanon but does miss celebrating Christmas with his relatives back in Syria.
It is not only the children who are joyful this Christmas. Siham*, a mother of two children, shared at the Christmas celebration that she went to that she knew nothing about Jesus until coming to Lebanon. After receiving food from a Beirut church, she started to attend their services every week. Hearing about Jesus excited her. “I first came for the food, but now I have something much more important than food parcels,” Siham said.
Six more events are planned between now and Christmas, all sponsored by LSESD and the Christmas for Refugees project. Executive Director of LSESD, Nabil Costa, is pleased that Syrian and Iraqi refugees are getting the chance to celebrate Christmas and know more about its meaning. “Christmas should be a special time for everyone, regardless of their circumstances,” Costa said. “We pray that these events will bring alive the Christmas story to all who attend and make this Christmas a memorable one.”