As we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord this Christmas with our families and friends, we are reminded of the promise and hope Christmas morning brings.
On Christmas morning more than two thousand years ago, God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, was born in Bethlehem. Following the star, those who came to bear witness to the birth of our Lord traveled far and wide to honor him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Yet, on that morning, the greatest gift of all was Christ’s very birth: the promise and hope of salvation.
Each year, we honor and remember the Birth of our Savior in our churches, homes, and communities surrounded by family and friends. We also know that without the Nativity there is no Cross and Resurrection.
During this time of year, we count our blessings.
And we realize that while we have the freedom to celebrate the birth of our Lord, there are many Christians around the world who simply cannot.
In many parts of the world, Christians remain persecuted and the target of genocide at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists.
In Turkey, Pastor Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen, remains imprisoned simply because of his Christian faith – his second Christmas separated from family and friends.
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian was given the death penalty for a simple act of Christian charity: she offered a Muslim co-worker, who was working outside in the fields, a cup of water. She has spent over 2,500 days imprisoned for her faith. Her husband and five children have spent a decade without her.
Worse still, 2 million Christians in Iraq and Syria have been murdered in a horrific genocide. In Iraq, ISIS – the Islamic State – has eliminated upwards of 80% of the Christian population. Though some of those Christians are starting to return, they face new challenges.
My prayer this Christmas – that the power and love of our Savior permeate a very troubled world and that the birth of Christ brings hope to those who are not free to practice their faith.
As the Gospel of Luke verse 2:10 reminds us, “[d]o not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
At the ACLJ, we will continue to fight for and defend those who are persecuted. There is much work to do – and on this Christmas we renew our commitment to defend our faith – in this country and around the globe.
As the sun comes up on Christmas morning, think on these wise words from the Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Colossians verses 1:13–15:
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
This Christmas season, from our family and the entire ACLJ family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas.
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