Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - How do children of the persecuted church celebrate Christmas? - Open Doors UK & Ireland
24 November 2021

How do children of the persecuted church celebrate Christmas?

Despite conflict and persecution, children around the world are determined to celebrate Christmas.

What are you doing for Christmas this year? It’s a question many of us are asking, not just in the UK and Ireland but around the world. 

For children living in countries where believers are persecuted, it’s a question that reveals not only the traditions precious to them, but the strength of faith they have in the face of opposition and suffering.   

Sharing food and faith  

Discover more stories in our new suite of Christmas resources, including a carol sheet that explores the Christmas story through the eyes of chilren of the perecuted church

In Kenya, the word associated with Christmas is ‘Together’. “After the Christmas service, we eat and drink together because there are those who do not have money to buy food to celebrate in their homes,” says Mary (13). 

The sharing doesn't end there. “Christians from all churches go around sharing the gospel,” Mary continues. But opposition is never far away. Believers are pushed, insulted, even attacked with water. But Mary is undeterred. “My prayer is for the church to be so full that we don't all fit in anymore.”

Dancing for joy 

The activity that perhaps gives greatest expression of joy is dance – and that’s exactly how a group of young Christians celebrate Christmas in Laos. “We celebrate Christmas by dancing,” says Deng (12), as she rehearses for a Christmas service. “To show glory to God, sing songs and worship God with the adults.”

This desire to celebrate the birth of Jesus is even more inspiring given that, in Laos, Christian activities are heavily monitored by the Communist authorities, with many believers at risk of severe persecution. 

Christmas story inspires prayer



In the Iraqi city of Qaraqosh, once occupied by so-called Islamic State, Lydia and Youssif learn about the Christmas story before Advent has begun. “We start on 1 November to learn about the story of the birth of the Jesus in my Christian education class,” shares Lydia. 

For Youssif, one of the familiar refrains from the Christmas story inspires a prayer that reflects the dangers that still lurk in Iraq. “The Lord said, 'Do not be afraid',” he says. “I pray to Him and say: We need you today and every day, lend a helping hand and protect us from harm, we are begging and trust on You, to bless the coming year.”

Please pray
  • That the Christmas traditions and celebrations savoured by persecuted Christian children will be protected
  • That these children will know afresh the joy, hope and wonder of Christmas 
  • That opportunities will open up for them to share the gospel with others.
Please give
  • Every £20 could pay for four months of basic schooling for a child of a Christian pastor who was killed for their faith
  • Every £45 could help give a child discipleship and biblical resources so they can stand firm in their faith

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