The absolutely worst thing about Christmas is that not everyone gets to enjoy it. There are more than 3 billion people who do not know the story of Jesus, His birth, death and resurrection. We are part of the blessed few who can truly appreciate this time of year. Ironically we are also part of the cursed few who have given in to the market driven consumerism of it all.
Two weeks ago I sat around a small fire warming my hands in a remote Asian village. After hours of motorbike riding through cold December winds we were grateful for the warmth and hospitality of the village headman. Our journeys usually take us to unexpected places at unexpected hours sleeping in the homes of people we meet along the way. As usual people would gather and tell stories for hours through the glow and smoke of community.
One inquisitive local village teacher began to ask all sorts of questions. Apparently his years of instructing high schoolers has raised more questions than answers. “How far are the stars?…Is there water on other planets?…How does gravity work?…Where did year Zero A.D. come from?…Is this related to Christmas?”
We began, “We don’t know all these answers Teacher, but we do have a true story to tell you. This story will answer your most important questions. This story is true and was written down by men many thousands of years ago. These men were moved by God, the God who created the world, to write these words down. In the beginning there was nothing except God…”
For the next two hours the villagers were engaged in a storytelling, complete with sound effects, lively motions and audience interaction through gasps and laughter. They heard of the fall of the angels, the perfect garden, the fall of man, how Cain killed Abel, the worldwide flood, the great tower of vanity, how God chose Abraham and Moses, how he gave the law and established the temple and its system of sacrifice. When the villagers realized that Jesus was the promised final sacrifice and the reason for Christmas a great cheer erupted.
So what are you celebrating this season? Have you been cursed with Christmas consumerism or have you been blessed to share it with others?
As we play with our new toys, eat our extravagant meals, watch our new 50-inch LED’s and post our selfies on Facebook, let’s remember those who have no reason to celebrate; those who don’t believe because they have never heard, those who have never heard because no one’s ever told them. Consider telling someone today the story of Jesus both in word and in deed.