We live in America… we’re safe… we’re in our homes… we have caroling and worship services. Yet in other parts of the world our brothers and sisters in Christ are being persecuted for their faith. I just read an article that brought Revelation 1:9 back to the forefront of my mind this Christmas season. You can click here for the article, but below are a few exerpts.
The deadly Christmas Eve ambush of a Christian bus driver in Iraq Thursday and a bombing earlier this week targeting a 1,200-year-old church are driving Iraq’s few remaining Christians quietly underground in the hours before the holy day begins.
Christmas has bumped into Shiite Islam’s most mournful ceremony this year, forcing Iraqi Christians to shutter their homes and hide the signs of their celebration.
Midnight Mass will again be observed in daylight across Baghdad, and security around churches is heavier for a community that’s been threatened by sectarian violence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Jesus said that he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. We tend to forget that in our little safe protected world. We forget that there are many Christians around the world for whom identifying with Jesus means their life is in peril. As Paul wrote, “It has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ, but to suffer for His sake” (Phil 1:29).
While we assemble in our churches for singing, praise, and fellowship… let us not forget what others who share our faith are enduring. We need to lift them up in prayer… asking God to strengthen them in the faith. Yes, this is a time of celebration… but maybe it needs to be tempered with a little dose of reality.