10 minute Christmas reflection
You’ll need: A Bible and some time.
For many Christians around the world, risk and threat are part and parcel of everyday life. But it was also a key part of the first Christmas too.
Herod was all about power. Israel was occupied by the Romans who had allowed Herod to stay in charge, so he was in a precarious position. Any challenge to his authority could result in rebellions and the Roman empire losing important land and income (in the form of taxes). If either happened he would no longer be ruler, and he’d likely be punished severely by the Romans. He wanted to crush any challenge to his power before it even started – and was desperate to do so.
Daniela’s dad was shot and killed by powerful drug gangs. He was a pastor and he was helping people find freedom from their drug addictions and a new life with Jesus. The gangs didn’t like this, so they took his life.
Both are afraid of losing power. They both use power aggressively and violently. Christians are targeted for various reasons – some refuse to pay the gangs money, others, like Daniela’s dad were showing people how they could get out of gang life or be free of their influence. These things undermine the ability of the gangs to keep ruling and to keep earning money.
Daniela’s dad was warned. But he chose to keep doing what God had called him to – serving addicts who were left out, excluded and ignored – despite the cost. God’s love in him, and his desire to show that to others, was more powerful than the fear of violence or pain. It’s a different kind of power.
Daniela says, “Although there are difficult times in life, there are also times when Jesus helps us to overcome through people and prayer.”
Because of her family’s belief in Jesus, Daniela has lost her dad. This is tragic, especially at Christmas. Think about things you have lost this year. They could be big and really sad things, like a friend or relative getting sick, or they could seem more trivial, like not being able to hold a birthday celebration.
Write down two or three things that you’ve lost out on this year, and then spend a moment telling God about it. Be honest about your feelings and emotions. Don’t hold back. Ask Him to help you know His all-powerful love as you reflect on this year of loss.
Read Luke 2:8-12
Explain: The stories of Daniela and Bijli are tragic, but there is good news, and there is joy. These young people are not alone. Thanks to you, their global church family, they are finding healing and courage.
Last year, knowing that it would be dangerous for Bijli and her family (whom we met in session one) to celebrate Christmas at home, we saw how Open Doors partners arranged a Christmas celebration for them, and dozens of other families, in a safe location. It was a real encouragement and chance for Bijli to make new friends who accept her beliefs. The family continue to be supported by Open Doors partners.
And whilst Daniela and her brother struggle with the loss of their dad, Open Doors partners invited them to spend some time over Christmas at a special children’s centre and school. The family received an amazing welcome – Daniela said: “I was so surprised to see all of them, singing a welcome to us. It made me feel so good. I was really happy to be surrounded by so many loving people.” And Open Doors partners have helped the family move to a safer area, providing a new home and opportunities for them all to flourish.
Daniela says: “It is very important to know that this Christmas there are people around the world praying for me and my family. I am very grateful for that, because I see that God works through these prayers.”
Could you design a little Christmas card for children in Colombia like Daniela who know trauma and pain because of their faith in Jesus? Spend some time designing up a simple card with a message of hope. Use the template and ideas here…
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.