Christmas in Chains
In December of 2011, seven Christians in Laos were arrested and imprisoned by the local police for organizing a Christmas celebration in their village. The village chief said that the event was “against local customs”. The believers were detained, and authorities demanded that they pay 10 million Lao Kip for their freedom. “On the night we were imprisoned, the police threw a big rock at the house where we were gathered, which fell through the roof,” recalled Akamu, a Christian farmer. “The guards threatened us, saying we each had to pay two million Lao Kip and a cow. They also threatened to throw us out of the village.” “They put handcuffs on our hands and shackles on our feet,” said Inoke, the only woman in the group. “We were kept together in one small room for twenty days. It was like a chicken house, about three square meters.” This story offers such a stark comparison to the way many of us are used to celebrating Christmas. Can you imagine having your Christmas party invaded by the local police, and the night ending with your arrest- all for celebrating Christ’s birth? Persecution isn’t the most joyful of topics, especially during the Christmas season. Yet, persecution and Christmas often go hand-in-hand for Christians in over 60 countries around the world. Whether it is an attack in northern Nigeria, on a church gathered together on Christmas day, or Christians in Laos being arrested for celebrating Christ’s birth, our brothers and sisters need our prayers. As you and your family celebrate Christ’s humble entrance into this world, please remember our persecuted brothers and sisters in countries like Nigeria and Laos, who long to do the very same thing. Your prayers and support for persecuted Christians are the ultimate gifts you can give this Christmas. Thank you for standing with our persecuted brothers and sisters, especially during this Christmas season!