Our family recently took in a Bethlehem Walk at a local church. For years this church has set up a re-enactment scene in which visitors travel toward Bethlehem as part of a larger family. We encountered angels singing praise to God, Roman soldiers who demanded taxes and identification papers, and all the sights and sounds of daily life in the ancient city. What struck me the most was the encounter with the Romans. They were harsh, and we had been warned to keep our heads down and not to make eye contact with them.
Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ could well relate to what Mary and Joseph had to experience. They know the daily experience of living in a land of violence, where arrests, beatings, and death openly occur as a result of a person’s faith. We had the opportunity to experience this in the most meager of fashions, as a historical re-enactment. What if the very real threat of oppression hung over our Christmas preparations?
As you put out lights and decorate your home in proud declaration of the birth of Jesus, take a thought for our brothers and sisters in the faith who could be tortured or killed for whispering His name. If you feel the Holy Spirit speaking to you about how you could be a blessing to persecuted Christians in our own age, visit www.persecution.com, the website of Voice of the Martyrs. For thousands of Christians around the world, persecution does not come in the form of a costumed re-enactor. It hovers over them as a daily presence.
Father, bless Your children who suffer physically, emotionally, financially, relationally, and in any other way for their faith in Your Son. Protect them from harm and bless their witness, that even their persecutors may come to know the One Who was born to die for them. In the name of our precious Savior, Christ the Lord, amen.
Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins