In solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq, who canceled Christmas celebrations due to fears about their safety, we begin the season of Christmas by listening to the lovely Chaldean hymn Hwelih Isho' (i.e., Christ is Born).
Above is a picture of Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad, which is decorated for Christmas as a shrine to the martyrs who were murdered there on 31 October. There will be no Christmas liturgies celebrated this year in Iraq. On this our commemoration of the Incarnation, which also bids us to look forward to the Lord's glorious return, let us remember the Christians of Iraq and throughout the entire Middle East, our sisters and brothers who risk and give their lives to worship Christ the King. Let us not do so with heavy hearts or long faces, but with great joy because we know that the tears of this world do not compare with the joy we have in Jesus.