Never forget that the spirit of the world hates Jesus Christ and hates the Christian for refusing to submit to it, for refusing to be a part of it.
Across the world this week, hundreds of millions of us will be singing of that
“silent night, holy night” in the town of Bethlehem. But as Christmas approaches, with its beguiling promise of “peace on earth and
mercy mild”, how many of us will reflect on the words of our great Christmas
carols and be reminded that Christianity was a faith born in the East? How
many of us are aware that, while the first Christmas took place in the
Middle East, there today that same faith is under threat?Last week, the leader of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Francis, chose
to cast light on this dark story of persecution by taking to Twitter to warn
that we “cannot resign ourselves to think of a Middle East without
Christians”. Later in the week, Prince Charles warned that “Christians in the Middle East
are, increasingly, being deliberately attacked by fundamentalist Islamist
militants. Christianity was, literally, born in the Middle East and we must
not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ”.
Don’t forget your brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East, in North Korea, in China, and in Africa. Pray for them. Pray that their persecutors will be won over by their faith, even as the Apostle Paul was won over by Stephen the martyr.
As the A&E affair demonstrates, one day you may need them to pray for you.