By Jonathon Van Maren
In North Korea this week, tiny clusters of Christians will celebrate Christmas in total secrecy, taking to the woods or meeting quietly in their homes. They will be risking a sentence of death — Kim Jong-un banned Christmas in 2017 and demanded that his subjects instead celebrate his grandmother, Kim Jon-suk, “the Sacred Mother of the Revolution,” who was born on Christmas Eve. In Saudi Arabia, converts to Christianity will also risk execution by commemorating Christmas (and according to Open Doors, their number is growing).
The same is true in many nations around the world, where the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ can be celebrated only in secret and in great danger. In Somalia, Tajikistan, Brunei, and elsewhere, Christians face huge fines, imprisonment, or death if they dare to mark a Christian holy day that millions around the world take for granted. As I noted last year, the so-called “Christmas wars” that erupt in the American media each year are frivolous compared to what many must risk if they wish to celebrate the Savior’s arrival on earth 2,000 years ago.