Christmas is a time to celebrate. Most people around the world mark Christmas in someway; it is, perhaps, the most celebrated festival in the world. Ultimately, of course, it's because of the arrival in our world of the Saviour of the universe. We celebrate Christmas because we are eternally thankful and supremely grateful. But Christmas isn't about Jesus for everyone.

For some, it is about looking back; it is about marking healthy tradition; it is about family; it is about goodwill; it is about generosity of spirit, and it is about feasting. This has much to do with the influence of Charles Dickens and his novel, 'A Christmas Carol.' In his time, the celebration of Christmas had almost been outlawed through the puritan movement who saw it as a Roman Catholic invention filled with the, 'trappings of the popery.' It was Dickens's vision of Christmas that led to the celebration as we know it today. There are mixed views about the purpose of his aforementioned novel, but it is likely that it had something to do with the hypocrisy he saw in the church. As a man of, 'deep religious convictions,' he longed to see Christmas celebrated as it once was, but with some new traditions brought in.

As such, today Christmas is recognised as being a season of goodwill, of family, of generosity of spirit, and of feasting. But these 'traditions' are much more than the influence of a good novel - they are in fact, a hallmark of the Kingdom; values that underpin the very life that Jesus lived. For those that like to take the Christ out of Christmas (Christ's Mass) they still celebrate his values!

But it won't necessarily be fun for everyone. The video below tells the story of those who have been displaced by ISIS; Christians who have been forced to make a choice between Christ or their home, and with that, everything they have ever known. They stayed strong, choosing Jesus above all else. This is true persecution on a biblical scale. And we get to do something about it. Open Doors are one of the charities that we support through our church tithe. If you want to give something a little more this Christmas, please consider adding your support to our fellow brothers and sister across the world who have been illegally forced out of their homes.

Yours in Christ,