“Christ is born” is not just the Good News with which Christians greet each other once a year, but it’s a fact that Christ was born to save us from sin and eternal death and reconcile us with God the Father. Jesus was born so that our hope will never fade.
During the first weeks of 2021, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) in cooperation with the Evangelical Church of Armenia (ECA) delivered this message of hope to over 15,600 children, adolescents and their parents during more than 100 Christmas Programs held in 45 towns and villages throughout Armenia and Artsakh. Along with the Good News, over 12,000 children received Christmas Joy packages filled with stationery, educational games, hygiene items and warm hats that were prepared in advance by volunteers from the AMAA and ECA.
This year, the AMAA’s and ECA’s “Hayasa” Theatrical group, led by Artistic Director Nune Abrahamyan, conveyed the Good News of Christmas to the children with a puppet show based on Oscar Wilde’s “Selfish Giant” story. The icy heart of the “selfish giant” melts, and his garden turns green again when he hears the Gospel of Salvation. The troupe started its tour and performances from the AMAA’s Shoghig Camp in Hankavan, where over 200 women, children and elderly from Artsakh were sheltered since the first days of the war, and later with families who lost their homes in Shushi and Hadrut regions. The children who attended school in the Pyunik village of Hankavan, where the Artsakh children who were staying at camp attend, were also invited to the event.
Following the Christmas Program in Camp Shoghig, the “Hayasa” Theatrical group presented their program in Yerevan, Stepanavan and the neighboring villages. Children and teenagers from Artsakh families who had taken refuge in these regions were also invited to attend. During these 10 performances the message of the best way to become better echoed: The birth of Jesus Christ in our hearts.
* * *
After the war, words such as dream, rejoice and laugh might sound strange, especially to the children of Artsakh, where joy seemed to be hidden in their eyes. Many of these children dream to return home, but for the time being it is an unattainable dream. “Return to Home” was the theme of another Christmas theatrical performance presented to the children in Gyumri and later in Artsakh led by Artistic Director Vazken Torosyan.
In Artsakh, from January 8-11, the Gyumri theatrical group presented a Christmas Program in Stepanakert, Askeran, Martakert and other regions of the area. During seven sessions and from various stages, about 3,000 children watched a musical performance which told the story of a little girl who always complained about her family. She lied and wanted to get away from home. Because of her lies no one trusted her anymore and she lost everything. Finally she found herself in the realm of dreams, whose king is the King of Kings. It is the prayer to Him that changed the girl’s heart and helped her understand that the most precious thing in life is her family, and only the King can fulfill her dreams, which are good by His will and will come true at the right time. The message from this performance was a ray of hope especially for the children and their parents who lost their homes in Shushi and Hadrut.
* * *
Besides the major cities and towns in Armenia, this year the AMAA’s and ECA’s Vardenis team conveyed the Good News of Christmas not only in Vardenis, a border village of Armenia, but also to 20 other nearby border villages. In just a few days, despite the harsh snowy weather, the team visited these villages and presented the story of Jesus’ Nativity and distributed Christmas Joy packages.
The AMAA thanks all its donors and supporters for helping spread the Christmas message and distribute 12,000 Christmas Joy packages to the children of Armenia and Artsakh.
Founded in 1918, the Armenian Missionary Association of America serves the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities in 24 countries around the world including Armenia and Artsakh. For additional information, you may visit www.amaa.org.