*Representative photo used to protect identity
The following is written by a Christian leader in Egypt.
The minds and hearts of many Egyptian Christians are looking forward with anticipation to the end of 2015 and the beginning of hopefully a better New Year.
Many Christian families are now discussing their plans to spend New Year’s Eve at church. It has been a tradition for many Christians in Egypt to reserve the last evening of the year to spend with the Lord in worship with other Christians. They celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness experienced throughout the past year. The New Year’s Eve service has become the most attended church service of the entire year in almost every church in Egypt.
It doesn’t matter whether a congregation is big or small, in a large city or a small village. On that night parents take their families to church, dressed in their finest clothes normally purchased especially for New Year’s Eve and Christmas celebrations. They take with them the memories of hardships and struggles they suffered throughout the year. For some, major attacks or offenses by radical Muslims in their communities painfully affected their lives. For others, occasional harassments by radical and fanatic Muslim neighbors and colleagues remained an aching part of their days. They attend church that special night with an extended list of questions that still have no answers. Many Christians wonder what good 2016 could possibly bring.
We Christians of Egypt will go to churches on New Year’s Eve and continue to raise our hands and pray for the living God to save our country and our region from the wicked deeds of the devil. Our country has been hit dramatically by terrorism and the evil plots of extremists. We will continue to pray that our shining light as Christians would not be blown out by the strong concerns about the future and what it holds for us. Our only assurance remains that God is good. He is and will always be in control.
We know that the spirit of love we have in us is much more powerful than the spirit of hatred and evil that the enemy generates through attacks.
“Love your enemies,” Jesus said. And so it should be!
Egypt is ranked #22 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians. The 2016 WWL will be released on Jan. 13.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.