I have a friend “O” that I see once a month. We never meet in the same place. We enjoy our visits, but O does not want to be seen with me too often. Why? Because he is a secret believer in Jesus. O does not want to be discovered and being seen too often with me is dangerous.

Jesus often warned people to consider the cost of following Him. Believers here know the cost: shunning by the culture, banishment from family, loss of employment, imprisonment, and possibly death. Yet they continue to meet, pray, and worship.

I asked O why. With conviction he says that Jesus has given him life, hope, and peace. He is convinced that Jesus wants him to share what he has been given—in his own country. He realizes he could flee to the West and appeal for asylum. Many have. But O says he has considered the cost, and it pales in comparison to what it cost Jesus to save him.

As you celebrate this Christmas, pray for O and the many like him throughout the world. They long for the day when they will celebrate Christmas openly.

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