I think us Christians need to be reminded of what Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 11. Our freedom wasn’t free. We had forefathers paving the way for religious freedom.
Paul was persecuted. Even further, Paul was martyred. Peter was martyred. Stephen was martyred. James was martyred. Later traditions note that Mark, Jude, Thomas, Andrew, and others were martyred.
“Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.” – 2 Corinthians 11:24-28
JESUS WAS MARTYRED.
With the everyday hustle and bustle, we as Christians tend to forget that Christ was born after we took our freedom for granted, which led us into bondage. We took our freedom for granted (i.e. Israel in several accounts in the OT); Christ died for us so that we can truly be free (John 8:36). Yet, sadly, many of us still take our freedom for granted.
Let us not forget the ones before us who died in their boldness to proclaim the name of Jesus. Honestly, with all of these accounts, the boldness and gratitude of Christianity in the Western culture is quite shameful. Especially since there are numerous accounts of people outside of Western culture still getting martyred for their faith and allegiance to Jesus. Oftentimes, appreciation of the most important things occur when the list of options become greater. Even when all of the options are lesser than the most important one. We see this in Romans 1.
Christians: let us spend some time on this day after celebrating the birth of Christ to be reminded of his love for us by hanging on a cross, and those who paved the way for us to express this allegiance freely. Let us not spit on the graves of those who were trailblazers of the Christian faith, but instead, show our appreciation by being as bold as they were, and not water down our faith for the sake of other’s opinions of your expression of gratitude.
I’m with Paul when he says, “I’m a fool for Christ (1 Cor. 4:10)!!!”