Carols, songs and Christmas cards all use the image of ‘peace on earth,’ but our world is far from peaceful for many. Christian Aid appeals to everyone to support the peacemakers doing incredible work in Lebanon.
Now more than ever, we need peace. If current trends persist, by 2030 more than half of the world’s poorest people will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence. Children are being forced to witness atrocities; families are ripped apart as they flee their homes. For millions of people this Christmas, peace may seem like an impossible dream.
But while peace is broken every day, it is also built every day through the tireless work of peacemakers around our world. Peace is made by individuals and communities living and bringing peace day after day – like Diana Abbas. Diana is a peacemaker and a child psychologist funded by Christian Aid working to bring peace to children who have experienced the trauma of conflict. She works in Lebanon in a camp which is home to 30,000 Palestinian refugees, many of whom have fled from Syria.
Diana is a frontline peacemaker helping children and their families find peace in the most difficult circumstances. For a child affected by violence and conflict, peace means the chance to heal and play.
But there are many children and families who need this help to find peace and move on from the trauma of conflict, violence and uncertainty. Jesus said ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ and in today’s world, it’s easy to wonder where they are. But people like Diana are working tirelessly to bring peace to their communities. This Advent and Christmas, we can stand with peacemakers like Diana and support their work with those who experience conflict. Peacemaking is about action and our gifts and prayers can be part of that.
“Peace is not losing a friend and not making my mummy sad. Peace is seeing my brother.’ Hamza, refugee and centre volunteer. After receiving support at the centre, Hamza now helps other children.”
Naziha was just three years old when she and her family fled for their lives after violence broke out in the camp where they lived. For three months, the Nahr al-Bared camp for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was the site of a horrific battle between Lebanese soldiers and Islamist militants. Some 400 people died in the fighting. The family left with nothing – and their home and possessions were destroyed. The trauma has taken its toll on the family, particularly on Naziha and her brother.
Christian Aid’s partner Association Najdeh has been helping Naziha come to terms with her traumatic experiences and to find peace.
Siobhan Grimes, Regional Coordinator for Oxfordshire said: “As we look around our world we see conflict and at times the rhetoric of powerful individuals seem to be intent on inflaming this. Almost wanting to create an ‘us and them’ mentality. Conflict causes suffering to the most vulnerable. Jesus, however, said blessed are the peacemakers. We can all play our part in resisting violence and help to promote peace. We can also support our peace-making brothers and sisters as they help those in, and from, some of the poorest and most violent places in our world by giving to the Christian Aid Christmas Appeal.”
Click here for Christmas resources for churches, children and schools (including doves which can be used on Christmas trees).
Zeina Zakar, who works for Christian Aid partner, Association Najdeh, among displaced Palestinian people in one of Lebanon’s twelve recognised refugee camps, the Nahr al-Bared camp will be speaking in the Diocese of Oxford in early December. Dates below:
Sunday 2 Dec: 10.30 service at St Columba’s Church, Alfred St, Oxford OX1 4EH
Thursday 6 Dec: St. John & St. Stephen’s Church, 121-147 Orts Road, Reading RG1 3JN.
Friday 7 Dec: Fish and Chip supper – Whaddon Way Baptist Church Bletchley, 7:30pm (RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org for catering)