Many in the western world are busying themselves with their Christmas preparations. Even in our city, one can drive around and find houses trimmed with lights and all kinds of joyful signs of this great celebration. We laughed as we made our way to the airport a few nights ago. There were all kinds of lighted snowmen, angels, bells, and other decorations lining the median in the avenue. We were amazed to see them, till we saw the locks holding them to the posts. But even at that, it is the first Christmas I remember seeing such decorations on open display in that part of town.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, things don't look quite the same. Christians in parts of India fear for their lives. You can read about it here. Not far away from there, many Chinese are suffering for the cause of Christ, as stated here. There is an agressive attempt to erradicate Christianity from China. Some people never learn; God opened the door and no man will shut it. Nigerian believers are suffering; the same goes in many other parts of the world.
And we westerners still express dismay and amazement over our nativity scenes, over our right to openly display the words "Merry Christmas." Do not misunderstand me; I have a great appreciation for the liberties we have historically enjoyed. I don't want to lose them anymore than the next guy. But when compare with the believers in Iran, or Iraq, or Bangladesh, such harrassment is so small and inconsequential.
Next week, when you stop to open that gift that your loved one bought or made for you, take time to remember your brothers and sisters around the world whose lives may be in danger in the very moment you are sharing your love with one another. "Merry Christmas" for them just may mean living through the night without fear of reprisal for living for Jesus.