Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012, has reportedly sent a Christmas letter to his family which has been shared with the public.
The American citizen and Christian convert was arrested while visiting Iran to build a secular orphanage.
Abedini’s letter was posted in full on the ACLJ website. He writes, "These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and sometimes hostile...The guards can't even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior's birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. 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.”
Abedini discusses the conditions of Jesus’ birth and then writes about what Christmas means for Christians.
"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.
“Christmas is the manifestation of the radiant brightness of the Glory of God in the birth of a child named Emmanuel, which means God is with us.
“Christmas is the day that the heat of the life-giving fire of God’s love shone in the dark cold wintry frozen hearts and burst forth in this deadly wicked world,” Abedini wrote.
The imprisoned pastor’s words had a tone of hope despite Abedini’s comment that it would be the first Christmas in prison that he would not be able to see any of his family, as all family members are outside Iran.
The Christian Post reports Abedini’s wife, Nagmeh, said upon reading the letter, "Reading this Christmas letter is quite difficult knowing the harsh condition that Saeed is in and the adversity that he faces daily. Saeed ... I wish you could see the lives that are touched and transformed because of you standing strong in your faith in Jesus Christ. The kids and I miss you and cannot imagine another Christmas without you, but we are proud of you and your endurance. Don't give up hope. Many are praying and taking action to bring you home."
Publication date: December 17, 2014