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Advent reflection (part one): Bijli

10 minute Christmas reflection

You’ll need: A Bible and some time.


Christmas is all about the start of a new family: Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

But that first Christmas is also the start of another, worldwide family. As followers of Jesus, we’re connected, not by biology, but by belief. As Christians we’re part of God’s global church family. And that all started with the birth of Jesus.

Now, we know family isn’t an easy thing for many people. And we know Christmas is usually when we spend a lot of time with immediate family. That looks to be especially true this year with Covid-19 restrictions continuing. For some that is a great thing, for others of us, it’ll be harder.

But whatever your family looks like, let’s spend time thinking about and hearing stories from our global church family. We know this Christmas will look a bit different – we’re facing limitations on gatherings, festive services and parties. So, maybe this year, we’re able to identify just a little bit more with those Christians around the world who can’t openly celebrate Christmas.

Watch this vid


  • Have people ever been mean to you? Have you ever been excluded or left out?
  • Have you been laughed at or left out because of your faith?
  • Think more broadly now, who in our society do we leave out? And why?

Read out Luke 2:8-12


  • What do you know about the shepherds? How were they viewed by other people?

Tradition says that shepherds were despised and unclean. Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, wrote: “the laziest are shepherds, who lead an idle life, and get their subsistence without trouble from tame animals”. It seems that shepherds were, at best, looked down on; at worst, viewed as impure, lazy and not very clever.

  • Why would God reveal the birth of Jesus, the most incredible good news, to people who were looked down on and excluded? People who might not even be listened to?

Chat about Jesus coming for those society rejects and leaves out.

  • Who else turned up to visit Jesus? How were they different from the shepherds? What does this say about Jesus?

Think about the contrasting characters mentioned in the first Christmas story – shepherds and wise men. One group from the top and one from the bottom of society. Jesus has come for everyone, He doesn’t care about who is most or least popular – He sees way beyond the labels we put on each other, and loves us no matter how we or others view ourselves.


The Christmas story offers hope to all like Bijli who know what it is to be looked down on and left out. At that first Christmas, it was the shepherds who first heard about the birth of Jesus. We’ve seen that the shepherds were social outcasts who were most likely uneducated and excluded by society. But God chooses to reveal his amazing good news to them first. They are the first to visit Jesus and see that God has changed everything.

They are the first to understand the true message of Christmas: that God is now with us.

Despite rejection and bullying, and even though she can’t safely celebrate Christmas in her own home, Bijli still knows the truth of Christmas – that God is with her. And Open Doors partners have made sure that Bijli and her family could celebrate Christmas in a safe location, with around 100 other Christians.

Pray this…

Lord Jesus, we thank You for our church family around the world. For Bijli and her family, who are willing to change how they live just to have the freedom to celebrate You at Christmas. As we face a different Christmas this year, help us to know how to be family to people, how best to love them and show them You. Amen.

Share this Christmas with your persecuted family!

Many Christians can’t openly celebrate Christmas, like us due to Covid-19, they face restrictions and limitations. This year, why not share Christmas with some young persecuted Christians. Learn their stories in our youth sessions and videos, write a Christmas card or message to encourage them and even send a gift.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.