Originally published in ChristianExaminer
Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been locked up and beaten in an Iranian prison since 2012 for his belief in Jesus Christ, wrote a letter encouraging Christians to have faith. The letter was sent from Rajai Shahr Prison to one of his family members, who then gave it to the American Center for Law and Justice who posted his message online.
“These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep,” the pastor begins. “The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and sometimes hostile. Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion.”
Abedini said that even a paper cross he made in his cell was not allowed. The guards, who believe in Islam, made him take it down.
“This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me,” he continued.
Despite his numerous beatings and injuries without receiving any medical attention, Abedini clings to hope in Christ.
“Today, we like Him should come out of our safe zone in order to proclaim the Word of life and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and the penalty of sin that He paid on the cross and to proclaim his resurrection. We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God,” he wrote.
“We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold, dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintery manger of those who are spiritually dead. It might be necessary to come out of the comfort of our lives and leave the loving embrace of our family to enter the manger of the lives of others, such as it has been for me for the third consecutive Christmas.”
“Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy,” the pastor concluded.
Abedini, an Iranian-American was sentenced to eight years in prison for hosting Christian gatherings in the country.