How do you spend your Christmas? When do you start preparing and celebrating? Stores begin stocking their shelves with Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. Billions of dollars are spent on Christmas gifts the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas parties, tree lightning ceremonies and many other festive occasions fill up the schedules of many in the west. It is a fun time focused on celebration and giving and receiving. Have you considered how others around the world celebrate Christmas?
In China, there is not a Christmas holiday. Men and women will go to work this year on Christmas day. The season is being commercialized. Every year the selection of Christmas decorations grows. The number of Christmas themed commercialized events also grow year by year. People like to celebrate. People like Santa Claus and reindeer and winter decorations. But there is so much more to Christmas!
In the west many people know the story about the baby in the manager and star over Bethlehem. They may not believe the story, but they have heard it. In places like China, they have never heard the story. They have only seen the commercial focus on Santa Claus. This lack of hearing and understanding make Christmas the perfect time to point people all over the world to Jesus. They want to know why Christmas is so important. They want to know why we spend so much time celebrating it. We can choose to focus on the fun Santa traditions or we can point them to Jesus.
For missionaries in Asia Christmas is an amazing opportunity to share the Gospel and the story of Scripture. This is the best time of the year to share the Gospel because most people are willing to listen as they have heard that Christmas is the most important holiday for us. They want to know why. And they want to experience it.
So many missionaries focus their energy at Christmas on sharing the Gospel through the Christmas story as many times as possible to as many people as possible. We host Christmas parties. At these parties we will eat good food. We will play fun games like dirty Santa. But we also will share the Christmas story. Sometimes we read it from Luke 2. Sometimes we act it out and dress up our friends and children in costumes and teach them the skit. Sometimes we show movies that share the story. Sometimes we give a book as a gift that clearly shares the story. The goal is for each person that we encounter during the Christmas season to understand that Christmas is not about us. It is about Jesus. He is the reason for celebration!
As you celebrate Christmas this year, please remember those of us who live around the world in places where Christmas is not a national holiday. We will miss our families. We will miss the fun parties and festive events that fill the schedules of many throughout December. But, we are thankful for where God has placed us and the opportunity to proclaim that Jesus is King and worthy of worship to people like the Hui who only associate Christmas with Santa.
Please join us this December and pray daily for the Hui and others. Pray that many will hear the Gospel this Christmas and begin to associate Christmas with Jesus and salvation. Pray for missionaries. Pray for stamina. It is hard cooking, planning, decorating and hosting multiple parties and then in a second language clearly sharing the Christmas story. Pray that we all will proclaim Jesus and worship Him this holiday season. May God’s kingdom grow as people in cultures around the world are exposed and hear the true Christmas story for the first time.
Christmas is the season for proclamation. Join us in pointing people to Jesus this Christmas season!
Please download the 30 Days of Christmas Prayer Requests.