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 Gino Santa Maria /

December 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In North Korea this week, tiny clusters of Christians will celebrate Christmas in total secrecy, taking to the woods or meeting quietly in their homes. They will be risking a sentence of death — Kim Jong-un banned Christmas in 2017 and demanded that his subjects instead celebrate his grandmother, Kim Jon-suk, “the Sacred Mother of the Revolution,” who was born on Christmas Eve. In Saudi Arabia, converts to Christianity will also risk execution by commemorating Christmas (and according to Open Doors, their number is growing).

The same is true in many nations around the world, where the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ can be celebrated only in secret and in great danger. In Somalia, Tajikistan, Brunei, and elsewhere, Christians face huge fines, imprisonment, or death if they dare to mark a Christian holy day that millions around the world take for granted. As I noted last year, the so-called “Christmas wars” that erupt in the American media each year are frivolous compared to what many must risk if they wish to celebrate the Savior’s arrival on earth 2,000 years ago.

But it is impossible not to notice that the past decade, which will draw to a close with the impending arrival of 2020, has marked a cultural sea change across the West. In October of 2010, President Barack Obama was still “evolving” on the issue of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. By decade’s end, merely stating that there are only two genders triggers waves of vitriolic outrage, accusations of “killing trans people,” and demands that the offending observer be driven from public life. The LGBT movement has made it crystal-clear: Those who oppose its number must be silenced and punished.

In the United States, the Trump phenomenon has granted a short reprieve, and his administration is strengthening the judicial firewall Christian communities will desperately need in the years ahead. In Canada, the Sexual Revolution moves inexorably onward, and it is difficult to see a future in which things do not get much, much worse for those who wish to maintain religious liberty, parental rights in education, and freedom of speech. The past decade has wrought havoc on the judicial precedents that protected many of these rights — and in most cases, the justices overturning these precedents were appointed by none other than so-called conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Many readers have remarked that quite a few of my columns this fall present a distinctly depressing forecast for Canada, and I’ll admit that the last year and a half has done much to erode any confidence I have in the likelihood that substantial political opposition and any effective defence will be mounted to protect the rights of Christian communities. (Although, as always, I’d be delighted to be proven wrong.) With Scheer’s depressing campaign performance on social conservative issues, it appears that social conservatives lose even when we win.

And that is why Christmas is such an important reminder. It reminds us that really, there is only one hope for us and our families, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, whose birth we commemorate this week.

There are many battles to be fought and much work to be done, but at the end of the day, we are all lost without Him, and perhaps that is what the shocking successes of the enemies of Christianity over the past decade are supposed to teach us. Our communities won’t protect us, our churches won’t protect us, our numbers won’t protect us, and our strategies won’t protect us.

When all is said and done, only He can protect us, and only in Him are we safe.

It may appear to us that Evil is winning today. It certainly appears that way to me. But that realization should remind us, once again, of the only real hope that we have: the Savior who is God, and came to earth in the form of a Child to offer us a way of escape.