MidEast - As we near the end of December, the Middle East’s estimated twelve million Christians are busy preparing for Christmas celebrations. Families typically enjoy rich lamb dishes, gift-giving and indulging in sweet treats to mark the festival of the birth of Jesus. In Lebanon, Christians grow seeds on cotton wool, a bonfire of dried thorns is burnt in Iraq and Jordanian Christians enjoy a slice of boozy Christmas cake.
However, 2016 has been a difficult year for many of the region, including its Christian communities, and the events of this turbulent twelve months will inevitably put a damper on celebrations this time. Here are some of places where Christmas will not be a period of peace and joy this year.