Christmas in Asia: Far East & Middle East
Asia is the major eastern constituent of the continent of Eurasia. Asia in the cultural sense has more to do with human geography than physical geography. Some thinkers have argued that geographically, there is little physical distinction between Europe and Asia. So Asia, as many Westerners think of it, is an artifact of a European construct of geography. For the purposes of this week's country surveys, the area of focus will be the countries that lie between the Pacific Ocean on the east, the Artic Ocean on the north, and the Indian Ocean to the south. The western boundary is the Suez Canal, the Ural Mountains and the Ural River.
Asia is the largest and most populous continent in the world. This region of the world has the greatest variation in ethnic groups, cultures, governmental systems and even climates. Climate conditions range from hot deserts in the southern equatorial region, to temperate regions in the central and eastern parts of the continent, to the subartic cold of Siberia.
This area is home to roughly two-thirds of the world's population and encompasses the oldest civilizations on Earth. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all originate from this area, referred to by some as the 10/40 Window. Much of this region contains the majority of the world's poorest people.
The predominate faiths in most of Asia are Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. Of the six countries surveyed this week, only South Korea and the Philippines are considered Christianized countries. Therefore, Christmas is a relatively new concept with few traditions in many Asian countries.
Pray for Christians who are persecuted for their faith in countries where they are the minority and the law forbids freedom of religion. Pray against sex trafficking, a multi-billion dollar trade industry that destroys the live of millions of women and children each year. Pray against gender inequality laws that trap women in poverty and violence. Pray that nations in this region would eliminate sex tourism, which further fuels sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable members of society.*