Christmas in Bangladesh
A family celebrates Christmas for the first time in Bangladesh
While most Christians in Bangladesh can celebrate Christmas with some freedom, it is a different story for Christians from a Muslim background and believers of other religious backgrounds. They cannot commemorate Jesus’ birth openly or in large groups because doing so will incite threats from the community and Islamists.
Worse still, many new converts live in scattered places and rarely communicate with open churches and other believers, further deterring them from getting together in this special season. The children in particular feel the disappointment. “We’ve heard stories where children of [believers from a Muslim background] started resenting their parents because they could not celebrate Christian festivities like other kids [from open churches],” one Open Doors staffer says. “It’s quite heartbreaking.” And so, since 2015, Open Doors has been organizing a Christmas celebration for these families so that they, too, can feel the joy of Christmas and appreciate God’s love even more.
Last year’s celebration saw 120 families participating, totaling up to 430 believers from 14 church denominations. The event was filled with Christmas songs, stories of Jesus’ birth, Scripture studying, drama, games, and a grand feast of local treats and a special cake.
True meaning of Christmas
Tipu Sultan, one of the participants, expressed his happiness from joining the festivities. “Through this event, I was able to understand the meaning of our Lord’s birth,” he says. “In fact, for the first time in our lives, we were able to celebrate Christmas!” Tipu’s sentiment is shared by others, too. Jahid Ahmed, for instance, especially treasures the warm fellowship that he seldom experiences. “My family and I truly enjoyed the time we spent with so many other believers,” he says. “Together we learned the true meaning of Christmas.” All this was made possible because of the prayers and support for the marginalized believers in Bangladesh from Open Doors supporters around the world.
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