“It’s so hard to comprehend not being allowed to worship Christ,” said a friend recently, when I posted a news article about the arrests of Christ-followers in Iran.
For most of us reading this, that is the case — incomprehension at the inability to freely worship, to openly celebrate Christmas. Yet, for millions of Christians in our world today, this is the reality.
Christ was born into such a world, ruled by an emperor who thought himself god. As the church began in the same environment, believers were persecuted and scattered throughout the known world.
The evil of man’s purposes only proved to serve those of God — spreading the Good News of Christ to even darker lands.
The same holds true today. After reading the Bible, read or watch The Insanity of God, The Hiding Place, books and videos from Voice of the Martyrs. These true stories will pierce your soul and build your prayer life for the worldwide Church.
As you pray for believers in Iran, North Korea, China, Venezuela and across the Middle East and North Africa, pray that they will stand firm in their faith in the face of great persecution and strife. Pray for believers who are living as refugees in strange lands, unable to speak the foreign languages, find work or support their families.
Remember that though a government or country may suppress outward expression of Christmas, nothing can suppress the inner celebration of Christ’s arrival to this world.
The darkest place cannot put out his light.
The prison cannot take away the freedom he gives.
Isolation cannot remove his presence.
Pain and grief cannot remove the joy he brings.
Pray that God will remind each soul suffering this Christmas season, whether across the ocean or in your neighborhood, that he has come and he will come again!
That’s something to celebrate! That’s cause for hope in the darkest of nights. May his worldwide Church be encouraged not only this Christmas, but every day of the year to come.
For he is our…
Grace and Peace