During mass on Sunday, as I sat, stood, and kneeled in a stuffy balcony juggling my kids with my wife, I thought about those Christians whose concerns are far graver: those who are displaced from their homes this Advent and those who face religious persecution. It is easy to take for granted the simple ability to attend mass in our local community with our friends and family and to do so without fear. Many of us who are living in security are trying to think about how we can give gifts without giving in to consumerism, how we can experience the fun and joy of Christmas while focusing on its true meaning. Thinking about those who are practicing our faith in difficult circumstances is a good reminder of Christmas’ true meaning and the hope that Christmas inspires, especially for the poor and vulnerable, the persecuted and forgotten. We should, of course, think about what could be done to help these Christians and we should pray for them (along with all other people who are denied their basic human rights or driven from their homes), but we should also be inspired by their powerful witness and reminded of the true nature of God, which was revealed to the world when the Word became flesh. That moment changed all of history and each Christmas offers us an opportunity to celebrate this joyous moment and to respond in our own lives by bearing witness to the Good News.
Earlier today I ran across this video of some displaced Christians who are celebrating Christmas away from home this year: