The War on Christmas: Silent Nights Fill Merriest of Seasons

Human Rights Day Highlights Gap in Celebration

There is no "merry" before Christmas for millions of religious minorities—no Christmas lights, presents or carols. Instead of lighting a tree or a candle for a celebration, a light can become a spotlight alerting authorities or extremists. For millions of Christians who face the toughest religious persecution, Christmas can be a time of fear and isolation. They must secretly celebrate the birth of Jesus—their lives depend on it.

On Dec. 10, as Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, Open Doors USA is urging American Christians to remember and pray for those who cannot utter the words, "merry Christmas." Americans can read through a free eBook to learn more and help educate their own children by downloading and reading the children's book Secret Christmas: Remembering Those in Need at Christmas. An online prayer wall and prayer app are also available to send messages to those who celebrate Christmas in secret. 
Some countries ban Christmas altogether including Brunei, North Korea, Somalia and Tajikistan. In North Korea, celebrating Christmas is punishable by death. In Saudi Arabia, no Muslim may celebrate Christmas, and because all Saudi Arabians are officially Muslim (conversion is even punishable by death), it is functionally illegal for any Saudi citizen to celebrate. 
Saudi Arabia is No. 12 on the Open Doors World Watch List. One wife and mother, Nawal, practices her Christian faith in secret. If her Muslim husband were to find out that she was actually praying to Jesus, he could legally beat, divorce or kill her. Nawal lives in fear and isolation. Sometimes she will receive an encouraging message via WhatsApp from other Christians who let her know they are praying for her. If she responds, the entire conversation is immediately deleted. Nawal no longer reads the Bible online for fear her husband will discover her faith. This Christmas Nawal will not be celebrating the birth of Jesus publicly, but will only say a silent prayer in her heart.   

  • Secret Christmas website, for more information
  • Interviews with David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, who can discuss ways Americans can support those who are persecuted around the world during Christmas

For more than 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries in support of persecuted Christians. Open Doors works to equip and encourage Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution and equips the Western church to advocate on their behalf. Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. For more information, visit