This Christmas, thousands of Christians, if not millions, will be caught up in political and ethnic conflicts. Many will celebrate Christmas facing poverty, dislocation and the possibility of death. In countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of Indonesia and India, religiously motivated attacks are on the rise. Other countries, like Saudi Arabia, ban private church services and converting to Christianity is illegal.
Although we don’t face such troubles here in Tasmania Australia, we do, with many Western countries, face increasing scepticism about anything to do with God. Sometimes this is quite aggressive with attempts to muzzle Christians and keep their faith out of the public square.
But we shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus told his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” His statement is just as true now as it was then.
As we celebrate Advent this year Christians across the world will rekindle and renew their hope.