Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas message

We are happily planning for our family being together at Christmas. Michelle and Jeff are here in the Denver area. Andrew has just flown back from Australia. Amber will be flying in from Seattle. Jeff’s parents are driving from Illinois and his brothers Dustin and Brian and sister in law Saka live here in Colorado.

In 1990 the Christmas pageant put on by the high schoolers on our mission station of Mulungwishi ended with the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem. It was a particularly poignant political statement since that year General Mobutu, the military dictator, had had killed over 300 university students in a neighboring city. This perspective, of suffering linked with Christmas, is the other side of the coin from niceties that we decorate our Christmases with here in the United States. Peaceful manger scenes, wise men following a star, shepherds and sheep adorn our houses, our churches and our thinking. Killing of children, wars and refugees are also part of the Christmas story.

The world today is a very dark place. Christmas will be celebrated this year in Congo where over 4 million people have lost their lives and continue because of power and greed over minerals that God has placed in the country. Christmas will be celebrated in refugee camps (just this past week another 60,000 were displaced because of fighting based on ethnic differences in the north eastern part of the country). Levels of insanity pervade our own country where shooting of innocent people seems to be a daily event. Sorrow over lost love ones on all sides of the conflicts of Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and the list goes on and on.

Why celebrate Christmas when there is so much suffering? Because IT IS God’s ANSWER and REALITY to the darkness that we have created. God by sending JESUS IS bringing in LIGHT to the obscurity with which we cloak ourselves. He has come to save us from ourselves and from the atmosphere of self centered greed and hatred we have created. We celebrate because this is real HOPE! God loves us! God is with us! God wants to participate in every part of our lives as individuals! God wants to live out His life through us to the communities in which we live! God in Jesus is here to change us and the world we live in! Let us celebrate and join with the choir of angels, “ JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME!”

Please continue to pray for the following:

  • Our travel and sharing in the churches
  • Our family
  • A new academic year at Mulungwishi
  • Six of our faculty members coming to General Conference
  • Preparation of work teams coming to join us
  • Peace and justice in Congo

We wish you all of the Lord’s blessings for this Christmas Season and for the coming year.

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