Concern for persecuted areas rises during holiday season

By December 20, 2007

International (MNN) — Over several years, it has become evident that the Christmas season causes an increase in persecution in places that are already notorious for it.

Glenn Penner of Voice of the Martyrs Canada says this is because "Christians want to share their rejoicing with their neighbors, and religious militants look at these things and they see Christmas. They recognize very much that it is a Christian celebration, and  they're determined to stop these things to put an end to the expansion of the church."

With Christmas comes more outreaches and church services. Penner says that in some
places Christians are more cautious not to disturb their neighbors in order to avoid any possible altercations, but often there are no special preparations. 

"They don't expect it. The way they prepare for it is by continuing to do what they  would ordinarily do. They don't know whether they're going to be
persecuted for sure. Christians often don't get a whole lot of warning that there's going to be something taking place," said Penner.

Egypt, Indonesia and India are Penner's greatest concern. He said Sri Lanka has, in the past, been on that list and will continue to be monitored, but it appears to be mostly calm this

Penner asks that Christians pray that persecuted believers know joy during the Christmas season. "Just as the Christ-child was persecuted, so they themselves are persecuted.  Christmas in the Bible was not a peaceful event. It was a time marked with
conflict," said Penner.

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