We love Christmas… who doesn’t? The chance to be with family, friends, eat ridiculous amounts of food, open presents. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
But we also know, the real Christmas story isn’t just a big old party. It was about God giving himself to his creation. It’s about extreme generosity and love that would give everything. We should celebrate that, but one thing we can do this Christmas is also respond to God’s amazing, humbling act of love, by thinking and acting for those who have less than us.
This year, our church family in places like Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Pakistan and North Korea have all been in the news because of some horrific situations. Many Christians are facing incredible pressures, and Christmas is often a time when believers and their churches come under attack.
So, as we celebrate, use these tips to not only connect again with the Christmas story, but to remember your persecuted family too.
Read through the Christmas story and pause to quickly pray and remember persecuted Christians as you read. Start with Mary’s song in Luke 1 and ask that the hungry will be ‘filled with good things’(v53) and that he will ‘lift up the humble’ (v52). As you read about Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4), pray for all those from Syria, Iraq and Nigeria who have had to flee their homes because of war and terror. As you get to the bit about Jesus’ birth, pray for all those expectant mothers, and newborn children, facing another Christmas of uncertainty because extremists have kept them from returning to their towns. You get the idea, so get going with the rest of the story and pray as you feel prompted.
There’s going to be a lot of meals over the next few weeks… so why not take the opportunity to say grace before the meal? Say a quick prayer of thanks and remember all those Christians around the world who’s Christmas celebrations will be held in secret. Many others will be facing a Christmas without loved ones, whilst others will be trying to remember Jesus’ birth in the midst of refugee camps and makeshift homes. Each time you sit down to eat together, pray for them. Simple.
Christmas is all about good news – and this year we want you to share good news, that is encouraging words, pictures and stories with Abdu, a 15-year-old Christian boy from the Middle East.
Abdu became a Christian last year, but needs our encouragement and prayers. Could you send him a message, picture, Bible verse, video or piece of encouragement to let him know he is not alone this Christmas?
It is Christmas after all! You can help give support to persecuted children, by helping to provide trauma relief for those suffering the effects of war and terror – and it’s just £4! Head to our Secret Santa page to send a gift worth giving:
Can’t afford to give? Try some of these quick fundraising ideas!
Go carol singing: Host a mini-concert or get a few mates at the end of a church service together to sing a few carols for the rest of the congregation. Ask for donations for your beautiful tones and spread a bit of Christmas joy – and feel free to highlight what you are raising money for (you could show this vid too). You could also show the brilliant version of ‘O Holy Night’ our friend Tom Smith helped us to make (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm1n-wygxlY).
Christmas movie marathon: Invite your mates round for a afternoon or evening of Christmas films. Grab Home Alone 1 and 2 (don’t bother with 3) and settle in with the popcorn, and Christmas chocolates. Charge a small entry fee and raise a bit of cash as you watch Macaulay Culkin beat up the bad guys.
We hope you have a great Christmas – let us know if you use any of these little ideas – we’d love to hear how you’ve been praying and speaking up for your persecuted family.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.