It represents the sin and evil that has infested our world and pervaded the heart of the natural man. There are those who sit in darkness—the unsaved—who, whether by ignorance or willful choice, are in rebellion against their Creator.
But God offers hope to those who walk in darkness. God, who is rich in tender mercy and abounding in steadfast love, stepped into the darkness to rescue us with the Light of the World.
Zechariah prophesies of this promised Savior in Luke 1:78-79. He declares: “whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
In the midst of darkness, we have hope because Jesus Christ has come to give light and peace, both now and for eternity. God’s light will not be overcome, even in places like Afghanistan, where the seemingly impenetrable darkness strives to snuff out any faint glow.
We hear this assurance ringing in the triumphant testimonies of Afghan ministry leaders partnering with the ABWE Afghan Initiative, who despite all odds were given the treasure of the gospel. God graciously opened their eyes and shone his truth into their hearts. Having been rescued themselves, they risked all, even their very lives, to bring that light to others sitting in darkness around them.
Christmas in Afghanistan
Ahmad pulled his coat tighter around himself and cast one last cautious glance over his shoulder. Was it worth the risk? Yes, the birth of his Savior was meant to be celebrated with other believers. With the Taliban’s ominous threats still echoing in his mind, he defiantly reached out and rapped on the front door. All fear was pushed aside as he was welcomed into the joyful warmth of fellowship.
Afghanistan is the most dangerous place on earth to be a Christian, and for our brothers and sisters living there, celebrating Christmas is met with many challenges and fears. Despite the risks, members of the underground church still gather secretively in small groups, worshipping together in prayer and song because of their shared hope in the God who took on flesh for their salvation.
This year, several Afghan ministry leaders and their families will celebrate Christmas for the first time in the US. These families were forced to flee Afghanistan when the Taliban took over in 2021 and became connected with ABWE through Live Global and EveryEthne missionaries. As part of the Afghan Initiative, these families have been relocated to the US to reach other refugees with the gospel.
Now, as these families minister in the US, they continue to shine as lights in the darkness. As they explain in their own words:
“We remember the gift he is to us. Jesus is the true Light. The genuine, perfect, steadfast Light.” – Nabi
“His birth was a light in the darkness for guiding the people.” – Ahmad
“My people are living in darkness, and I pray God would use me to reach my people to live in the light.” – Ilyas
This Christmas, these Afghan Christians are all looking forward to the same thing: commemorating their Savior’s birth without fear and limitations.
“Here we are free, feeling peace. And there is no fear of worshipping God in church. I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas with our loved brothers and sisters here and pray for other people groups to know the real and merciful God,” says Sara.
During this Christmas season, let us praise God together with our Afghan brothers and sisters and celebrate the Sunrise who pierced the night, visiting us from on high.
Prayer Requests for the Afghan Initiative:
- Pray for healing. Our Afghan friends have endured much trauma as they have been persecuted for the sake of the gospel. Pray that God would grant them emotional and spiritual healing and hearts of forgiveness.
- Pray for resources. Pray that God would raise up financial partners to fund the unique and impactful ministry of the Afghan Initiative.
- Pray for abundant fruit. Pray that God would bless our efforts for his glory, and that many Afghans—here in the US and overseas—would come to know him.
This Advent season, learn how God is working around the world to bring the hope of Jesus to those who have never experienced him before. Download our free new resource, Give Joy to the World: An Advent Devotional from the Mission Field, for you and your family to enjoy this Christmas.