15 December 2006

Why We Celebrate

"And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

In other words, when Paul first went to Corinth he didn't use lofty words and brilliant ideas to tell God's message. He decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. It is amazing today just how "difficult" people make coming to Christ. It is even more amazing to notice that God has been pushed almost completely out of the holiday we have to celebrate the birth of the Messiah!

Christmas for us means going to church and spending the first hour of the day in the Lord's house. We sing and praise God for His gift, the Lord Jesus Christ, and for the means whereby we can – and must – be saved. This has pretty much been the norm for most Christians in Zambia.

Ah, how things have changed! The store is now cluttered with toys from Zambia's "new best friend" – China. Stuffed teddy bears crowd out the checkout counter, plastic toy trucks clutter the floor space and baby dolls are stacked in almost every aisle. It is hard to believe, but nobody seems to notice that all the dolls have yellow skin.

We can now go through the local grocery store (the only one in Luanshya) and hear Bing Crosby crooning "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" over the PA system. When I asked the store clerk what a "white Christmas" was she said it was one "like you bazungu celebrate: a tree in the house, presents for family and eating too much." ("Bazungu" is the Bemba word for – you guessed it – white people!)

Still, even with all the new commercialism in Zambia we still see God working in the hearts and lives of His children. Brother Zulu has been praying about doing a concentrated Bible study with me. I asked him to complete a commitment sheet and he delivered it yesterday. We will begin later this week. This is why Christ came into the world. This is why we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour. This is why we are in Zambia!

We appreciate the part you have in making it possible for us to remain here. Your prayers and support are more valuable than we can express in words.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry