Bookman Old Style – Not all countries are particularly receptive to the Christmas message that our savior was born to pay the price for our sin. Starting after Thanksgiving for us and in early December for many other places, stores and homes undergo Christmas decoration inside and out. In some countries, nothing changes. Christianity isn’t a recognized religion and those that follow it live with a large bulls-eye on their backs. Sometimes you can’t sing Christmas hymns, you can’t decorate your houses, and you can’t get a Christmas tree.
Unbelievably, the Christmas holiday may be a time of celebration for us, but many in the 10/40 window are under more intense persecution now than at most other times of the year. Remember that I mention that a massacre could take place against the Christians in Orissa, India? The Hindu Extremists are paving the way for just such an action to take place by shutting down pretty much everything on December 25th. The government dissaproves, but they are powerless to do anything about it at the moment. Also, it is illegal to celebrate Christmas in North Korea. Thousands of Christians are also under intense persecution and are often incarcerated or executed for meeting in house churches or reading Christian materials.
In such countries, private celebration of Christmas can be ruined by the neighbors whose testimony is more than enough to put you into a work camp for two years minimum. Despite all this, it is possible to celebrate the reason for the season.
1.) Make up hymns that are symbolic but don’t have any traditional symbolism. (“The farmer” – God, “sent his son” – Jesus, “into the field” – to earth, “to work.” – to seek and save the lost, “The farmer” – God, “brought him back” – raised him from the dead, “to go again”- to return, “the next day.” – soon. For example, though I hope you can pull off a rhyme better than I. God has many names in the Bible, there’s bound to be something that won’t attract the official’s attention.)
2.) Worship in spirit and in truth, keep it in your heart where no eyes wander other than God’s and He is a glad audience.
3.) Use a little extra normal decoration here and there if you think you can get away with it. A candle here, a flower there, symbolic colors are just as good as real colors as red and green tends to be a giveaway. Colors I’d use if I could get away with it – blue and orange. (Orange = Red + Yellow, Yellow + Blue = Green, see, it works out.)
4.) When it all comes down to it, spiritual decoration is of more importance. Do you have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
5.) Make up your own traditions, my family has a variant of Mexican Wedding Cakes that always dissapear quickly.