Since Christmas essentially celebrates God’s gift to mankind, every day is Christmas to the believer, as they carry this precious gift every Monday-Sunday every week of the year. December 25th is not the technical date of the birth of Jesus Christ as many already know, we continue to be unaware of this exact date. Yet I see nothing wrong with the festivities that come with the Christmas period, however commercialised they are, so long as we remember that Jesus is the reason for the Season.

Christmas Day for me is a time of humble reflection and gratitude and this year has been a real wake-up call for me to truly count my blessings. I typically don’t invest in presents – I see nothing wrong with it – I just don’t need flashing lights, a bauble-draped fir tree and stories of Santa Claus to fill me with joy and excitement.

Last Christmas was a sombre period for me, away from my family for the first time in an alien, Muslim country, which gave me plenty of time to think about the suffering of the minority Christian sects throughout the Islamic world. I failed to recognise last year how privileged I was, to know the saving grace of Jesus and appreciate his birth (whatever the date) in a nation largely unaware of the hope Christ has given us.

My position this year couldn’t be further away from last Christmas. This year has truly been a test for my family, as indeed has the past 15 years. Yet we stand bold, unashamed survivors of the gospel, living proof of God’s grace and mercy on our lives. This year I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long while. My blessings outnumber any words I could possibly pen to paper. Fundamentally, as our fellow persecuted brethren bleed for Christ- particularly during this Christmas period where oppressed Christians are subjected to heightened attacks let us be grateful for the simple, yet powerfully beautiful of things. Whilst the world gets carried away in their eating and drinking, in their partying and materialism, remember to focus on Christ as the centre of our celebrations.

As our fellow believers are languishing in jail for lack of freedom of their beliefs, let us be thankful for the ability to openly proclaim God’s gift to us this season. As we sit in our Church services, let us remember those Churches in particularly Islamic nations, subjected to bombings and targeted assassinations. As we reach for our Bibles let us remember all those Christians who have had theirs confiscated from North Korea to Saudi Arabia, or those who have longed to touch the pages of Scripture yet the law of their lands forbid the very presence of a King James.

In essence, we remain so very blessed, so very privileged and so very free and during this joyous period where we get together with our families and friends, let’s remember not to forget this.

May God continue to bless you as He continues to bless and safe-guard the Hussain family and I’ll leave you with the following verse of Scripture that I find to be very encouraging and up-lifting:

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world  1 John 4:4

The birth of Christmas represents the coming of the Son of God as man, in order for man to become sons of God.

Happy Christmas!

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