Specially recorded interviews and footage from Christian refugees in Erbil, Northern Iraq will be part of the SAT-7 ARABIC programmes, following visits made there last week by makers of its Bridges news series and Why is That? children’s show. A raft of seasonal concerts from churches, Gospel artists and the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, will bring joyful, quality music, and a line-up of Christmas films will offer Christian entertainment for the whole family to enjoy together.
SAT-7 KIDS will also bring festive cheer to refugee children and a spiritual message to harassed shoppers when it broadcasts live for two hours each day between 20 and 23 December from one of the largest shopping centres in Beirut, Lebanon. Popular presenters Marianne Awaraji (Let’s Sing Together), Essam Nagy (Why is That?), Karen Khoury and Elie Awad (Bible Heroes) will present gifts to children displaced by war and other needy youngsters who are being invited to participate in the shows.
Live music performances and special guest appearances from well-known actors are expected to create a buzz in the shopping centre and make for absorbing viewing for youngsters and their families watching from home.
Rita Elmounayer, Executive Director of SAT-7’s Arabic channels, said: “In the midst of all pain, suffering, hardship and hurt, what is better than to offer our kids in the region a window where they can feel the warmth of God’s love. Our programmes this Christmas are about forgiveness in a world full of hate, about reconciliation in a world full of struggles, about peace in a region of war.”
Filling the gap in Iran
Across on SAT-7’s Farsi language channel, SAT-7 PARS, there will be a sackful of festive programmes designed to compensate for the absence of public Christmas celebrations in Iran.
Nikoo Ordodary, SAT-7 PARS’ Deputy Executive Director, said: “Many of our viewers are the only believer in their family so won’t be able to celebrate Christmas with anyone; they won’t even be able to speak to anyone about Christmas. That’s where SAT-7 PARS’ live shows come in; when they watch our programmes, they can share in a collective celebration and that is really special.”
Live Christmas broadcasts will feature well-known Iranian pastors explaining the significance of the Christian festival, special programmes of worship and live music from two popular Iranian musicians, Roozbeh and Faraz.
Nor are Turkish speakers, the region’s other largest language group, forgotten. One of the festive highlights on SAT-7 TÜRK will be a broadcast from a landmark Christmas concert at Istanbul’s Maltepe Türkan Saylan Culture Centre. Pedro Eusteche, the woodwinds soloist for The Passion of the Christ film will perform, a Mexican folk dance troupe will add an international flavour, and Alberto Motessi will give a sermon explaining the reason Christians mark this season.
As the Eastern and Western Christmas is marked at different times, viewers from cities as far apart as Casablanca (Morocco) and Kabul (Afghanistan) will be able to enjoy Christmas programming right up to the Orthodox Christmas Day on 7 January.
Photos – top: Jesus Tent and Christmas tree set up by Chaldean Christians displaced from Mosul in Erbil, Northern Iraq; centre: Karen and Elie warm up for Christmas on the latest Bible Heroes: bottom: Essam Nagy with a young resident at the Erbil refugee camp
See details of SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 PLUS Christmas programmes
An extensive programme of live and recorded worship services and Christmas concerts from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Algeria, plus special seasonal documentaries and films supplements our usual range of programmes. Details here
Christmas shows live from the mall
Watch the trailer for SAT-7 KIDS shows that will be broadcast live from City Mall, Beirut, 20-23 December. You can watch the shows live here at 14:00 GMT; 16:00 CET on 20-23 December.