Rev. G. van der Schee, December 2020
Not everyone looks forward to Christmas. We know that from people who are lonely. And that is why all kinds of initiatives are taken, by family, neighbours, churches and #nietalleen. Even if the loneliness is not structurally changed, for many the attention is at least a warm ray of hope in the dark days. And also for those who bring that light, because sharing makes you rich.
There is another group that does not look forward to Christmas. In fact, they are even afraid of it and lie awake over it. It is a group unknown to many. I didn't know about it a year ago either. For them, Christmas is associated with dark gatherings. There are candles, a tree, singing. Even a fire, but no hope, only fear, agony.
Where Christmas is about the miracle of Immanuel, Christ's coming as a vulnerable child in a broken world, in the meeting of the cult (see earlier articles in ND and at Argos) man has to do away with sin and make horrible sacrifices in honour of Nimanuel, satan. In a rigid hierarchy children and apostates become victims of an inky cult.
A witness (ex-involved) writes: ''The room is dark and is lit with red lamps, where you are allowed to walk. Only the place of sacrifice is lit by fire. The whole atmosphere feels very special and important. Just the lights and the fire make you quiet and keep a low profile. From every corner someone can appear who scares you, you don't see them coming. Partly because of the black clothes everyone, except the children under 16, is wearing. The children are naked and stand out the most.
The worst is the sacrifice, when screaming children are sacrificed to atone for the sins of family and ancestry, while meanwhile songs and music, monotonous drumbeats, sound.''
From the Old Testament I am familiar with the abomination of child sacrifice (see among others Deut. 12:31, 2 Kings 16:3, Psalm 106:37 and Ezek. 16: 20,21). It is expressly forbidden by the Lord (Deut.18:10). He Himself does not ask for a human sacrifice, but provides an atoning sacrifice for our sin, in Jesus, the Lamb of God.
It seems inconceivable that in our civilized country child sacrifices still take place and remain under the radar. At Christmas, it happens during cult gatherings at an upside-down cross. Terrifying, gruesome, deadly.
Besides children, renegades are also sacrificed to keep the group pure. The chance that it will happen to you increases if you don't strictly follow the rules of the cult in the weeks before. This can be as little as being late for a cult appointment. So the weeks of Advent are very stressful, because of the fear of doing anything wrong; and full of spiritual battle.
What a contrast with a beautiful Christmas Eve service where Jesus is central, the joy in the long awaited Saviour, Messiah. I grant that Light in the darkness to everyone.
From now on, around Christmas, I will not only pray for lonely people and for people who don't yet know the Light of the World, but also for people, and especially children, who are stuck in the bizarre opposite of the Good News. Praying for them for courage to step out of it and for Christians who want to take care of them and help them to make the grace of Christ their own, to the deepest of their soul.