Yesterday I was visited again by a member of the Iraqi Christian Community -- known variously as Chaldean or Assyrian Christians. This man has brought me updates on a fairly regular basis and we have prayed together for the Iraqi Christian Community, which is suffering tremendously since the Iraq War began. Things were never wonderful for this ancient Christian community, whose roots go back to the very earliest days of the church. But since the war thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled their homeland, their churches, businesses, and homes being burned and bombed.
While many have fled to America or to neighboring countries such as Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, the hope should not be that they will need to find safety in foreign lands, but that they might find safety and opportunity in their own homeland. In fact, my friend has shared with me the desire of the Assyrian Christians to have their own homeland within Iraq -- in the region known as the Nineveh Province. The biggest opponents of this is the Kurdish community in Iraq that wants to bring that region into their own orbit. The Christian minority has a stronghold in the area around Mosul, which the Kurds want to bring into their own hoped for autonomous region.
For more on the history of Christianity in Iraq see Philip Jenkins'
The situation is not good, so may we, on this Christmas Eve, remember those who are suffering tremendously for their faith.