PART THREE: UNDER THREAT
“Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” … Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.'”
MATTHEW 2:1-2, 7-8
Sometimes Bijli comes home crying from school.
“At school, some friends push me and make me cry,” she says.
When her mother asks her why they do this, she says, “Because I am a Christian.”
The family live their lives against a backdrop of threats and suspicion. It makes celebrating Christmas in their village impossible.
“We can’t celebrate in the village because of the restrictions and fear of persecution,” Badol says.
Herod wanted to kill Christ, not to worship Him. Many Christians live their lives under the threat of violence and intimidation.
Pray with those who are threatened by rulers and authorities. May they be free to follow their faith without fear.
PART FOUR: FINDING JOY
“They went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
Badol, Maya, and the children go on a journey.
Open Doors’ local partners have arranged a Christmas celebration for them in a safe place. There, they find around 100 Christian families from isolated rural communities.
For some, it is the first time they have ever properly celebrated Christmas – and the first time that they have met with so many other believers. It is good to find out that they are part of a much bigger family. There is a Christmas dinner of daal, chicken curry, and rice. Everyone is dressed in their finest. And Bijli and Mohon have other children to play with.
“We have joy and peace, we sing songs and dance,” says Maya. “We do not get to celebrate like this in the village.”
It was a long journey for the Magi to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Many persecuted Christians must make long, risky journeys to worship with others. And many more are unable to celebrate openly and must worship secretly in their houses.
Pray for safety for all those who celebrate Your birth this year, Lord Jesus. Protect them from harm and give them a time of joy and peace.