Jailed Iranian pastor Behnam Irani, who was last month denied hospitalization despite his critical condition, wrote a letter from his prison cell days before Christmas, ministering to Christians in his country and thanking God for letting him share "very little of" Jesus' suffering on the cross.
"Despite the pressure and difficulties in prison, I am pleased to share, what is like a fountain, my Christian joy with you in the new Christmas days to come," wrote Irani, who is currently serving a six-year sentence, according to the letter translated by Minnesota-based Present Truth Ministries, which has missionaries and pastors working in various Middle Eastern countries.
"My brothers and sisters, I love you all. Christ has given you to me on Calvary. Even if I were sentenced to many years behind bars for the salvation of one of you, there would never be any complaint," said the pastor in his 40s in the letter, seemingly written to the people he has ministered to and Christian workers in Iran. more >>
When King James Bible Online asked the 110,000 users on its Facebook page if they believe Jesus was born on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, 83 percent of those who responded answered in the negative. A majority of the respondents also said Santa Claus is a "lie."
The date of the birth of Christ was among the four questions King James Bible Online asked as part of its survey, titled "What Do Christians Really Believe About Christmas," that was conducted this month.
Only 11 percent of the respondents said tradition is right about the date of Jesus' birth. Six percent marked "Not sure." more >>
For many Americans, Christmas time calls for remembering Jesus' birth, giving gifts, spending time with family, and almost inevitably, stress. Megachurches in the U.S. are no different, with many of them preparing an array of Christmas performances and services for attendees, the organization for which begins as early as summer.
Willow Creek Community Church of South Barrington, Ill., one of the largest churches in the U.S, is a prime example, with hundreds of faith-filled volunteers dedicating their free time to the production of 28 Christmas services, including 12 at the central campus in South Barrington, with 11 identical services in English and one conducted entirely in Spanish, and an additional 16 services at the church's five regional campuses.
So how does Willow Creek even begin to orchestrate the manpower needed for such an arduous project? more >>
Christmas pageants have become a thing of the past for many churches in the Winston-Salem, N.C., metro area. Instead of pouring all their resources into one giant production for the congregation, these churches have chosen to look outward and take the Christmas "party" to the community.
Christmas for the City has become an annual tradition in Winston-Salem where churchgoers spend less of their time and energy on plays and more on shining the light of Christ in other people's lives. This year's party drew more than 10,000 people to the Benton Convention Center.
"[W]e were stunned to find a line stretching around the block waiting to get in," Chuck Spong, executive director of Love Out Loud and Christmas for the City, told The Christian Post about Wednesday's event. "In a very real sense, it was dramatic the activity of God that happened all throughout the building." more >>
As Christians around the world get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, believers in Syria are welcoming the holiday on a much more somber note.
"We will use the Christmas time to visit the families that have been going through pain and suffering," a pastor in Damascus told Open Doors USA, a persecution watchdog that aids Christians around the world. "Christians will come together in the churches of the capital to have their Christmas services, but no decorations and nothing big," he says. "The whole city is mourning the loss of their people, family and friends this year, so people will not really celebrate."
Syria has faced the ravages of civil war this past year, as President Bashar al-Assad has been doing everything possible to quell the rebellion against his administration. While the Syrian government is saying that "terrorists" have been attacking its authority, rebel groups say that they are fighting against a tyrant who has even threatened to use chemical weapons on his own people. more >>
ABC News Global Affairs Anchor Christiane Amanpour set out on a journey to the Middle East to explore the historical and anthropological roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, commonly called the three Abrahamic faiths, and to take in the sites and scenes described in narratives like the biblical flood and the exodus from Egypt.
On her journey, Amanpour visited places Moses, King David and Jesus are said to have walked, traveling to "the remotest corners of Turkey, all across the Middle East and even to the American heartland in search of clues about the biblical stories," the veteran journalist shares in a reporter's notebook.
Amanpour spoke with The Christian Post about her journey. Below is an edited transcript of CP's phone interview with Amanpour, who shared how her own family is affected by faith, startling discoveries unearthed during her journey and why she felt it was important to take her 12-year-old son along for the making of "Back to the Beginning," airing tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC more >>