SERVING A DIVERSE CHURCH OVER CHRISTMASTIME
This year’s days of carolling and feasting has now past for most of the West, but for many in the Middle East and North Africa, Christmas is just about to begin. While the region’s Protestant and Catholic believers celebrate the birth of Christ on 25 December, most Orthodox churches follow the older Julian calendar.
So, Coptic Orthodox believers in Egypt, as well as Syrian, Greek and Armenian Orthodox believers in the region, are preparing to celebrate their Christmas Eve on 6 January and Christmas Day on 7 January, also known as “the feast of the Nativity”.
Because SAT-7’s television channels serve a wide region and diverse Church, they continue broadcasting a broad range of Christmas programs right through to the New Year – sharing the message of light breaking into a darkened world as widely as possible. The hope and joy contained in the Christmas story will be life-giving to viewers for whom the traumas of war, family separation, or grinding poverty are a painful reality.
Over the coming week, some of the broadcasts first shown during the December Christmas season will be repeated. Among these are services from Evangelical churches in Egypt and Lebanon, Maronite Catholic services in Lebanon, and studio-based worship services on our Farsi-language channel. A special pre-recorded program with acclaimed singer and Coptic priest, Fr Mousa Roushdy, will focus on the meaning of the Incarnation and include a dozen songs in both Arabic and Coptic.
Other programs, including pre-recorded worship and preaching from Syria and Iraq, are planned. There will also be a host of concerts, spanning from classical orchestral to contemporary praise. Their performers will include both top musicians and children’s choirs, who have been rehearsing excitedly for this time. Alongside documentaries, short meditations, and teaching programs, biblical films will include the 2014 film production, The Saviour – the first Arabic language feature film on the life of Christ.
As well as repeats and pre-recorded shows, we will also be broadcasting live from the region. Our cameras will follow worshippers as they process into Cairo’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral and then gather for worship at a midnight Christmas Eve communion service on 6 January.
Whether they watch together as an extended family or snatch time to watch as isolated believers living among non-Christian relatives, SAT-7 viewers have many opportunities, like the shepherds, to “go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened” (Luke 2:15).