"In the modern West practising Christians celebrate Christmas, almost without exception, as they please, especially with different Christmas traditions, touching on almost every aspect of daily life.
But, imagine if those Christmas celebrations and traditions were banned...accompanied by the threat of jail-time!
Well, this Christmas, the Christians of Brunei faced up to five years in prison for celebrating Christmas… but they just carried on anyway!
The leader of Brunei has said anyone celebrating Christmas, including sending cards and putting up trees, could face up to five years in prison.
While Christians are allowed to celebrate the holiday within their own communities, they must not disclose their plans to the nation’s Muslims. "These enforcement measures are… intended to control the act of celebrating Christmas excessively and openly, which could damage the aqidah (beliefs) of the Muslim community," said the Ministry of Religious Affairs in a statement.
Banned activities include putting up Christmas trees, singing religious songs (Christmas carols), and sending Christmas greetings. Shopping complexes and other businesses in the Sultanate were told to remove decorations including Christmas trees, banners and Santa Claus figures from their premises."
Please take a minute to thank the Christian leaders of Brunei for their churches' celebration of Christmas despite the threat.