Singing Christmas Carols in your home, or an unapproved meeting place in Uzbekistan, could lead to criminal charges and hefty fines.
That's because Uzbek govenrment officials are "humbug" about Christmas or any other private or unsanctioned Christian worship in the former Soviet country.
According to Forum 18, Uzbek police have raided several Christian meetings this Christmas season, seizing personal property and awarding excessive fines.
Police raided a group of about 80 Protestant worshippers in the Tashkent region on Dec. 1, confiscating Bibles and hymnals. They fingerprinted attendees and abused them verbally.
That raid came only two weeks after one against the Full Gospel Protestant Church in the Urtachirchik District of Tashkent.
Timur and Irina Kholmatov were praying, reading the Bible and singing hymns with four other Christians when police raided their home. Officials confiscated audio and video cassettes, a computer, memory sticks, audio and video equipment, and four guitars. Timur Kholmatov received a fine of 100 times the minimum monthly wage.
Uzbekistan only allows Christian worship "in registered places specifically set up for religious purposes."
Find out more about Uzbekistan government raids against Christians at Forum 18.
And as you gather at home to say a few prayers and sing Christmas carols with friends and family this Christmas season, take a few moments to pray for Uzbek believers who risk financial ruin and sometimes jail, simply for celebrating Christ this Christmas season--and throughout the year.