Earlier this week I was talking with a member of the Burmese Church that my church rents to, and he asked us to pray because they are dealing with a situation in the Burmese Christian community. Here’s what’s happening. The Burmese Christians in America are eagerly posting on social media about the Christmas holidays. Their pictures show smiling faces, holiday light displays, parties, gifts, and lots of joy. It is totally normal that the Burmese Christians here are really enjoying the season. Christmas is joyful!
At the same time, the situation in their home country, Myanmar, is horrible. I wrote about it a few weeks ago in a series of posts starting here. Many Christians there are fighting for their lives this Christmas. Many are without work. Many had to flee to the jungle because the military bulldozed their homes and towns.
The Christians in Myanmar see their brother and sister Christians in America enjoying peace, and that makes the ones in Myanmar feel upset. Last year, Christmas in Myanmar was so joyful. Their nation just had democratic elections, and things were looking great. Then this past February, the military staged a coup, and began oppressing people, including many Christians. This year Christmas in Myanmar is awful. Many will have no Christmas. Do you see how this has caused tension between the Burmese Christians in Myanmar and the Burmese Christians in America?
Maybe you know the feeling. This Christmas, I wonder, are you feeling more like our Burmese brothers and sisters in Christ here in the USA or more like our Burmese brothers and sisters in Christ in Myanmar? There’s no doubt that Christmas can spur great joy and great sadness. As we have been studying 2 Thessalonians for Advent, learning how to be Ready for Jesus’ Return, we have read that the Christians in Thessalonica faced extreme difficulty. They were in a situation very similar to the Christians in Myanmar. What will Paul say to help them get through this painful time? Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17, and then next week on the blog we’ll study this passage further.