It will be easy for many of the Iranian Christians presently being held in prison to forget that December 25th is Christmas Day. For it will be a day like any other - difficult smells; poor food, cold; and worst of all, not knowing. Not knowing what the charge is against them; not knowing how much longer they will have to endure prison; and at least one house church leader, Yousef Naderkhani, does not know if he will live or die, for there are reports that he has been sentenced to death.
Outside there will be official Christmas greetings from the establishment given to the ancient Armenian and Assyrian Churches. There will be talk of respect for the religious minorities. Inside the prison walls at least two Christians from those ancient minorities, Vahik Abrahamian and his wife Sonia will wonder why their own respect for their Christian faith has led them to being imprisoned. Other Christians, like Arash Kermanjany and Arezoue Termouri, who are not from a historic Christian community, will stare at the cell wall and wonder why they are not free to believe in the faith of the ancient church.
Though it would be easy for those in prison to forget Christmas Day, it is unlikely. For they are deeply in love with Jesus Christ. And whatever the extent of their suffering, even on December 25th, they with confess with the rest of Christendom: ‘His name is Immanuel. God with us.’