All Christians in Iraq have left is the love of the 'refugee child' – Jesus, according to the Vicar of Baghdad.
In his Christmas message from Bethlehem, where he is based after being forced to leave Baghdad for his own safety, Canon Andrew White refers to the refugee camp in the north of Baghdad where members of his staff have "fed and clothed, provided mattresses and cradles for the thousands and thousands of internally displaced people" who have fled the ravages of Islamic State forces.
A 'refugee tent for Jesus' has also been put up as a symbol of the presence of Christ among those who are suffering.
White writes movingly: "I will never forget the day in Baghdad when we had some visitors. They had come to see what it was really like for Christians in Iraq. They were so surprised by how happy the thousands of people were in our congregation. 'How can you be so happy when you are surrounded by suicide bombs, mortar rockets and such violence?' One of our young people answered the statement. 'You see when you have lost everything, Jesus is all you have got left.'
"All you have got left is the love of that refugee child. That to us in the Middle East is all that matters this Christmas."
He concludes: "Christmas is a time when we should never lose the meaning of this Christ Child who came to us so that by simply trusting in him we will have a life filled with hope and purpose and love. He is still with us 2000 years after he first came. This Christmas let us not forget that he so loves us that we must love him and in response our life will be changed forever."