ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS my Savior gave to me, the sign of an old wooden cross made from a simple tree.
Christmas is a special time of year when families and communities gather together and remember the birth of our Savior by singing special songs. Sadly, one of the most well-known songs sung during Christmas time has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ, but is an old English Christmas carol called The Twelve Days of Christmas. The Twelve Days of Christmas is a cumulative song, meaning it is made up of a series of increasingly numerous gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas.
However, for the twelve days leading up to Christmas, we would like to do something different. Instead, we are choosing to remember our brothers and sisters living in closed nations between China and Jerusalem who are forced to celebrate Christmas in secret.
Every day, during the twelve days leading up to Christmas, we will pray together for the persecuted church living in the nations between China and Jerusalem.
Not all Christians can remember the birth of Jesus Christ with an open celebration. Christians living in Asia are far outnumbered by the 1.5 billion Communist atheists, 1.2 billion Hindus, and 275 million Buddhists – many of whom would like to see an end to Christmas.
Even in the Middle East, the place where Jesus was born, there is aggressive persecution against believers which forces them underground during this special time of year.
The story of Christmas might seem to be simple, innocent, and harmless for many Christians living in the west, but it is not. Indeed, the very first Christmas of baby Jesus in a manger is actually a story of unimaginable persecution; this peaceful scene comes right before King Herod ordered the slaughter of thousands of male babies in an attempt to kill the new born Savior.
In the northern hemisphere, Christmas marks one of the darkest days when the daylight is the shortest in all the year, but out of the thick black night of winter there is a light that burns bright for the world to see. That Light is Jesus and He lives in the heart of His children no matter where they are.
Blessed are His children during this time of persecution. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matt 5:10-12
Listen to the audio podcast for Day 1