Christmas Message

A year ago, as The Minister for The Middle East, I spent the last two weeks before Christmas in Lebanon and Egypt respectively. In Lebanon, I visited the refugee camps full of young children escaping the war in Syria and already experiencing the first snowfalls of the year high in the wintery Bequaa valley. In Egypt, I visited the Coptic Christian community who had just emerged from a period of persecution under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. A year on, last night, I joined the parishioners of Bearsted for their splendid and happy annual family service of lessons and carols. The contrast could not have been greater. As we all sit down to enjoy our festive break, spare a thought, and a prayer, for all those around the world who will be suffering this Christmas.