A Christmas Reminder
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, wrote the following for the December 1994 VOM newsletter. (Edited and paraphrased for reading level.)
Christmas is coming. Many Christians will spend Christmas in communist, Muslim, or Buddhist jails.But you might say, “Christmas is a time when we sing carols and hallelujahs. People give gifts to one another. Why can’t we just celebrate the season with others? Why bother us with sad words about suffering?
My answer is that at Christmas, we are supposed to remember not only that a Savior was born. We also remember that Mary had to give birth in a stable and to put her child in a manger for cattle. What comforts did Mary have in the stable? Warm water? A midwife? Clean sheets? She did not.
Was it really true that there was no room in the inn? Maybe the innkeeper or some guest with no wife and child could have slept somewhere else. They could have given their beds at the inn to Mary and the Christ child.
When we think about Jesus’ family at Christmas, let us remember that after Jesus’ birth, they became refugees. They had to flee to Egypt. There were no planes to take them. At best they might have traveled on camels through the desert. They must have suffered from lack of water in the heat of the day.
What kind of life did they have as refugees in Egypt? Today refugees in many countries live in much worse circumstances. Some don’t even have a tent. They are happy to receive blankets from us.
The greeting “Merry Christmas” is not only a seasonal greeting. It’s a reminder that at Christmas we may also give the poor, the refugees, and the persecuted at least some ray of happiness.