I’m sitting here in my small home-office on this “Night Before Christmas” and thinking about the wonderful service we attended this morning at our church.
The beautiful carols and moving worship-songs all blended into a sweet setting for our pastor to rehearse the facts and truths of “The Christmas Story,” in both traditional and contemporary ways and scriptures.
It was only a one hour service, but it all centered on Jesus Christ and we all left the sanctuary with happy hearts and joyous thoughts of this special season. More importantly, many had expressed their faith in Christ for the first time and joined His “forever family!”
That’s why Christ came, to seek and to save the lost!
Tonight, I’m also reviewing Christmas cards and greetings from many ministries which we try to support throughout the year. One letter comes from Renee Williams, a missionary sent out several years ago by our church to Japan. She always shares some of the most interesting things about the Japanese lifestyle and culture.
In this recent letter, she was relating how many of the older Japanese know very little about Jesus or why he is called the “Christ.” They are surprised when she explains to them that Christmas is not the birthday of “Santa Claus.” They may have heard of Jesus, but often have no idea that the reason the Western (Gregorian) calendar is divided between B.C. and A.D. is that of Jesus’ birth.
The 80-year-old father of one of Renee’s Japanese friends once took a trip with her to Europe and saw some architectural remains that said “4th century B.C.” and asked the daughter what that meant. He seemed shocked when she explained that all of the dates before Christ was born were written in this manner and the transition to A.D. meant that Jesus was born approximately 2017 years ago.
As a grade school student during WWII in Japan, he was taught that the Japanese race was a superior race because of its long history. Whereas, the Western countries had only existed for 1940 years! He had heard of Jesus but had no idea that he was the Son of God, the promised Messiah of Israel, Who came to live and die, as the savior of all the Nations!
John 1:11-12 explains it this way: “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (NKJV)
In the morning, my wife and I will join with our nearby daughter’s family to see their tree of sparkling lights, reminding us of Jesus, Who is the Light of the world. We will again read “The Christmas Story” from Luke 2 and sing songs, celebrating the incarnation of God in human flesh. This Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came to earth to save us from our sins! Hallelujah!
Truly, putting Christ in “Christ”mas is what this holy holiday is really all about! Merry Christmas!