While we debate the true meaning of Christmas, Christians are being massacred in their thousands
Concern about the commercialism of Christmas is not a new issue. Neither is the concern over how our modern culture has diluted, if not entirely obliterated, the true meaning of Christmas. For some people, particularly parents, these concerns merge in confusing ways. Many Christians even end up criticising big businesses for not being Christ-centered enough in their commercialisation of Christmas!
Those of us who lead relatively comfortable and sheltered lives in the Western world have a great ability to spend time worrying about a host of meaningless trivialities, often losing track of things that really matter. Try explaining your concern that Christmas has been “spoilt” by commercialism to a Syrian refugee who has lost everything, perhaps even family members.
Meanwhile, as we debate whether Santa Claus has become more important than Jesus at this time of year, Christians and other religious groups like Yazidis are being tortured and killed by the thousands in many countries not very far from us, including some places quite close to where Jesus ministered where local Christians still speak Aramaic. Yet the collective outrage in Europe to the clearly non-trivial reality of the systematic destruction of Christians in the Middle East that amounts to ethnic cleansing isn’t enough to fill a child’s Christmas stocking.
ISIS isn’t alone in committing atrocities against those who hold different beliefs including Christians, Yazidis and Shite Muslims.. Other terror groups — principally Boko Haram and al-Shabab — also target faith groups and have killed thousands.
Elsewhere too in North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the Sudan, religious persecution is especially bad, as was highlighted in ACN’s recent Report “Persecuted and Forgotten?”. Yet neither the US nor the EU has made religious freedom a visible and persistent foreign policy priority. The time has come for Christians to unite and condemn this official indifference to the suffering of our fellow Christians and demand action from our political leaders.