Thursday, December 27, 2007

So How Was Christmas Around the World This Year?

Reading through a few reports this week, it is obvious that Christmas continues to be a time of both rejoicing and apprehension for Christians around the world. On the one hand, I read of churches in Iraq being full for Christmas celebrations, in stark contrast to a year ago. Indonesian police were called upon to provide protection for Christians concerned about attacks on their services as in previous years. Thankfully, they do not seem to have been needed, as we received no reports of attacks on believers there.

On the other hand, in Turkey and Gaza, Christians were reportedly keeping a low profile this year after prominent members have been martyred in 2007. In India, the reports are continuing to come in as at least three Christians have been killed and several churches, Christian homes and businesses and organizational headquarters were attacked and burned in the state of Orissa during the past three days. The reason for the attacks is muddied but seems to boil down to Hindu militants objecting to Christians seeking to publicly celebrate Christmas on the grounds that it might lead to Hindus converting to Christ. In Malaysia, a Catholic weekly newspaper was told just before Christmas to drop the use of the word "Allah" in its Malay language section if it wants to renew its publishing permit, despite the fact that this is the word that Malay Christians have always referred to God by. And in Canada, Catholic Insight, a Catholic political and cultural general interest magazine went public with the news that it is being accused before the Alberta Human Rights Commission by a homosexual activist of making "negative generalizations" about homosexuals, portraying them as preying upon children, as dangerous and "devoid of any redeeming qualities and...innately evil".

Herod (in his various guises) continues to seek to snuff out the life of the Child all over the world and God's people continue to look to God for guidance and protection, just as Mary and Joseph did. But the Light that brings light to the world continues to shine as His people faithfully witness through their words and sacrificial lives. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5).


Firefly lite said...

I have not seen this on Stacy's site yet, or VOM's....I saw where a 12 year old boy was hanged by the Taliban December 12, 2007...I did not see it on any of the news media....thought that you might have not seen it either....I was just concerned...also, the state of pakistan is in a serious state....Lynda

Firefly lite said...

I am trying to learn how to use this....I try to keep up with your's and Stacy's sites which are so relevent....have you seen where a 12 year old boy was hanged by the Taliban as a spy December 12, 2007? Things are serious in Pakistan today....keep up the good work keeping us informed...may God bless you and the work you all do...Lynda

Glenn Penner said...

The reason we didn't cover the Taliban story of the hanging (and probably why Stacy didn't either) is that, as tragic as it is, it was not a "persecution" story (i.e. involving the persecution of Christians) which is the sole focus of our two websites. It certainly should cause those who think that we can negotiate with the Taliban reason to pause and reconsider however.

Certainly we in Canada are concerned about the news out of Pakistan with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. We must certainly pray for peace in this volatile situation. I do know that many Christians were supportive of her. This is very sad day for Pakistan.