RCH joined the initiative of the Karachi based Tehillim School of Church Music & Worship in partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan to support the reformed families in the country as they prepare for Christmas and witness about Christ’s love amidst social challenges due to the pandemic.
All human wisdom is sum up in two words: wait and hope. What will you do during waiting period? What the waiters do: Serve!
This motto is guiding in this season of Advent Eric Sarwar, Presbyterian minister from Pakistan, founding director of the Tehillim School of Church Music and Worship, as he invited partners to help those who are seriously affected by the novel Coronavirus pandemic in his home country.
RCH has been able to answer the Christmas emergency appeal of the Pakistani community positively, an offer a symbolic support of 1500 USD to the “Christ's LOVE from ABOVE: Gift amidst Covid” initiative of the Tehillim Pakistan team in partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Pakistan for the sake of the most vulnerable and underprivileged community members and families.
The minority Christian communities are often discriminated against when it comes to social support and humanitarian aid related to the Pandemic in Pakistan. Amid the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, there has been evidenced cases, when Christian families have been refused to get support from local authorities. “These incidents express the staggering situation of hunger and lack of food supplies in the megacity of Pakistan. Our friends and families requests to provide the necessary food supplies for Christian families in Karachi,” told Sarwar back in February when he announced the “Helping Hand” campaign. Families and congregations voiced their gratitude to the international partners in a video message highlighting the importance of prayer and moral support for the community which truly makes a difference.
“Tehillim Pakistan is continuously voicing God's glory amidst the Pandemic. With the partnership of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, Tehillim School of Church Music & Worship initiated the Tehillim Helping Hands to support the drive for poor pastors in Pakistan amidst the pandemic in Pakistan,” emphasized Sarwar as he approached Tehillim’s partners at Thanksgiving day. “During the Christmas season, the Christ's LOVE from ABOVE: Gift amidst Covid support drive initiated to help the most vulnerable Christian children, women, and widows in Pakistan. Our goal is to raise 10 000 USD until December 20, and send it to 300 families.
During this very uncommon year, the ministry and the mission of The Tehillim Pakistan have become increasingly important, even if also more difficult. “I am grateful for the friends and families who continue to provide financial support to enable this vital work,” Sarwar said.
Christmas in Pakistan
Each culture celebrates this day according to their customs and call this day by different names. In Pakistan, most people call it Barra Din (Urdu) and Wadda Din (Punjabi), meaning “The Big Day”—a name introduced by Imam Din Shahbaz who translated the book of Psalms into Punjabi lyrical poetry in 1904. In Arabic, Christmas is named Eid-e-Milad al Masih (Happy Birthday of Messiah). Christmas is able to be celebrated freely because in Pakistan the 25th of December is a government holiday—this date is also the birthday of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948). That national holiday gives Christians in this majority Muslim country an opportunity also to celebrate the birth of Christ on this day.
Christmas is a fun holiday as Christians all gather with friends and family. Everybody has a good time singing Christmas carols and watching amazing performances of the Christmas story that the kids perform for their families or in church. If possible, Pakistani Christians who live and work in foreign countries come back to celebrate this day with their families.
When Jesus was born, the angels sang of peace on earth. In Pakistan, Christmas season is an opportunity of Christians to share the peace of Christ with their Muslim neighbors. Christians share cakes and sweets and exchange gifts as well with their Muslim friends. Churches and Christian organizations arrange special Christmas dinners and invite government officials. Sometime government officials invite Christian communities as well at an official place. Almost all mainstream Muslim political parties try to send delegates with cakes to offer Christmas greetings before or during Christmas services. The midnight Christmas Eve service thus has become an opportunity for efforts toward building peace harmony between Muslims and Christians.
God is God! God became incarnate in Jesus Christ to show that every human being is loved by God. He was born in Bethlehem to show that every piece of land is God's footstool. And he was born in time to show that in every age, we can celebrate his birth. God proved his love to the world by becoming human, by choosing a particular geographical place and time in history to announce good news to the whole world. We can share his story with each generation in every place, also in Pakistan.