Tagged with Christmas

O Come, Ye Gazan Christians, to Bethlehem

O Come, Ye Gazan Christians, to Bethlehem

This article was first published at Christianity Today, on December 20. Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity has restored its sparkling mosaics and marble columns to their original glory for the first time in 600 years. “It has become such a beautiful church,” Ziad al-Bandak, head of the local project committee of Christian leaders, told the … Continue reading

The Christmas Rabbits of C.S. Lewis

The Christmas Rabbits of C.S. Lewis

Creation is alive with the spark of God, often witnessed in the innocence of children. For those made curious by the title, it is actually an amalgam of two oddly related God moments recently experienced through the pen of two celebrated English writers. The first came through reading Watership Down to my children. The classic … Continue reading

Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons

Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons

A reflection from Julie: Today marks a strange day.  Just one week ago, a suicide bomber killed over 25 people, mostly women and children, as they worshipped in church here in Cairo.  And one week from today, people all around the world will celebrate the joyous birth of a Savior during Western Christmas.  On one … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Christmas, Terror

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Christmas, Terror

God, As Egypt receives echoes of both hope and horror, make true the promise and put down the threat. Help the people live in peace. The president once again visited the papal cathedral for Christmas mass. He esteemed the unity of the nation and assured all destroyed churches would be repaired this year. But terrorists … Continue reading

Translation: President Sisi at Christmas Eve Mass

Translation: President Sisi at Christmas Eve Mass

Last night on Christmas Eve according to the Coptic Orthodox calendar, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became the first ever Egyptian head-of-state to attend the holiday mass. His appearance lasted for about ten minutes, during which he gave a short speech. The video selection and translation is provided kindly by Paul Attallah. It was necessary to … Continue reading

Not Quite Home for Christmas

Not Quite Home for Christmas

I have lived overseas now for about eight years.  We have lived in three different countries, but even so, I feel quite at home here in Egypt, where we have been for four years.  We have lots of friends and my life is busy with four young kids.  For me, living overseas is the norm.  … Continue reading

Unintended Recipients of Generosity

Unintended Recipients of Generosity

‘Make sure your kids come to Sunday School tomorrow,’ their teacher told Julie. Snug in bed, my wife ignored her first call at 10:45pm, but then picked up on her second effort at 11:00. Egyptians are well known as night owls, though they don’t usually call us so late. ‘There will be special visitors,’ she … Continue reading

Church, State, and Revolution in Egypt

Many Christians in America are keen on emphasizing that the ‘separation of church and state’ is found nowhere in the constitution. Rather, they state, it was from the personal letters of Thomas Jefferson – his guiding opinion, of course, but never adopted in America’s founding documents. This is true. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion … Continue reading

Christmas with the Brotherhood

Following two years of bloody winter holidays, and following also resounding Islamic success in elections, the Muslim Brotherhood coordinated with security forces – and probably Orthodox Church leadership – to stand watch outside church buildings throughout Egypt. I was able to visit one installation in Helwan, to the south of Cairo. After moving from church … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Christmas

God, As Christmas comes to Egypt, Islamists rise to power. The military council stands prominently in the background of both. What do you wish for Egyptian Christians, God? They are no mere minority, but have little independent power. They are dissolved into every community as part and parcel of the Egyptian fabric. Yet they are … Continue reading

Contemplating a Terrorist Strike

Jayson and I attended St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church here in Maadi, Egypt on Coptic Christmas Eve.  This is not so unusual, as it is the main church we attend weekly, but this particular night was a little different.  You may have heard in the news about the suicide bomber who attacked a Coptic Church … Continue reading

How Many Days of Christmas?

The Christmas season is upon us and we are enjoying watching Emma and Hannah learn about the Christmas story.  We are doing a few new things this year with them in mind, and it’s been fun to watch.  At the same time, I wonder what confusion they may be experiencing, particularly with the “days of … Continue reading

Coptic Christmas: Day Three

Today we visited two “Holy Family Sites” near Maghagha.    For those who know the Bible story, you may remember that due to the threat of Herod’s soldiers coming to kill the babies under age 2 in Bethlehem, Joseph took his small family down to Egypt before returning to Nazareth.  From what I know and remember, … Continue reading

Press Review of Nag Hamadi

We hope you have enjoyed our accounting of Coptic Christmas; there is still one more day to come, and hopefully some pictures to be shared thereafter. In the background of our Christmas stories, however, has been the events of Nag Hamadi, in which six Christians and a Muslim policeman were killed in a drive-by shooting … Continue reading

Coptic Christmas: Day Two

The lack of sleep did cost us the next morning, though, as we were due to pay a visit to the area bishop for breakfast at 8:00am sharp. In the Coptic Orthodox Church the bishop is only one level below the pope, and carries great authority and responsibility. Christmas duties pressed on everyone, but he … Continue reading