Displaying items by tag: Advent
Algeria: Advent - waiting for change
An Algerian message: ‘Christians eagerly wait for Christmas. We wait for joyous worship services, time to gather with family and friends, presents to open, and the celebration of the hope we have in Christ. But since authorities closed our churches in 2019, we won’t be able to celebrate Christmas together for the third year running. The churches are doing their best to take care of their sheep in an impossible situation and are waiting for heavenly intervention. In the midst of these hardships, Christians meet on Zoom, and watch church services on TV. We believe in a mighty God: nothing is impossible with Him.’ Pray for God to renew the spiritual strength of Algerian Christians waiting on God to shift the things beyond their control. May we join with the pastors who proclaim that the best is yet to come. Pray that Algerian churches will be permanently re-opened.
Netherlands: Advent calendars renamed
A well-known chocolate brand has omitted any reference to Advent from its Christmas calendars, calling them instead ‘Countdown Calendars'. Known to fans simply as Tony’s, the Fairtrade brand was founded in 2005 by three TV journalists who discovered that many chocolate manufacturers bought cocoa from plantations accused of modern slavery and using child labour. Launching their first festive calendar their promotion asked, ‘Are you looking for a way to count down to Christmas that gives you an excuse to chomp on our chocolate for 24 days straight? This is it.’ The company said making no reference to Advent keeps it ‘accessible to all who celebrate the festive season’. Christian Concern expressed unease over the marketing, saying, ‘To remove Advent from Christmas is to miss the meaning of Christmas.’ Others also criticised the ‘woke’ move, asking what is a ‘countdown’ to if not the birth of Jesus Christ.
Advent prayer resource
SAT-7 constantly receive testimonies of people whose lives are being transformed by Jesus. Some grew up in Christian homes, others first met with Jesus through their television screens. Some had a chance encounter with a Christian and wanted to find out more, others first discovered His joy through picking up a Bible in their own language. SAT-7 have just produced a prayer guide to give us a glimpse into some of their stories. Over the course of Advent they will take people on a journey across the Middle East and North Africa, through the 25 countries where they work, visiting a different country each day, and discovering plenty of reasons to rejoice – as well as ideas for prayer requests.
Israel: awaiting Advent
During Advent we sing ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ and prepare our hearts to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of our Saviour Jesus. We honour the most famous Jewish man who ever walked the earth: Yeshua, the Messiah. Yet His chosen people - His treasured possession - have not recognised Him. For them, Advent has not yet come. However 1.7 million Jewish people are now celebrating that the Messiah has come - and his name is Jesus! More Jews believe in Jesus today than in the past two thousand years combined. Despite a turbulent history with the Church that has left many Jews resistant to Christian evangelism, God is healing wounds of the past and creating new relationships of respect and communication between Christians and Jews. Thus avenues are opening that reflect Jesus’ love for the Jews and sharing of the Gospel more lovingly and effectively.