It’s holiday season again: that time of year that so often warms hearts, yet saddens others. This truth can ring in a most deafening way for the missionary, who may or may not see a single Christmas light depending on where they are posted. Lets be honest about something: the world is not Christian. Yes, believers are being won to the Lord everyday, but in lands where the light of Christ has yet to dawn, Christmas is at most a day of superficial colors and materialism. At worst? Thursday. New Year’s is not far behind either, since not every culture celebrates on the same day or in like manner. That dazzling ball dropping to thunderous applause might be better put towards paying for electricity in the village you’re posted in.
The holidays can admittedly be one of the most difficult times for missionaries to adjust to this new life, but it need not stay that way. Firstly, as pointed out in earlier entries in this series, as a Christian in the mission fields or even back home, community is paramount. As is stated in Hebrews 10:25:
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near…
Where as the holiday spirit may be lacking in the country you serve in, it should be overflowing among believers. A Christmas show at a Tokyo church, an end of the year party at another and finally hanging out on Sunday with a couple of close brothers in Christ, was all a blessing of worship and fellowship to me. It made my spirit sing.
Which brings me to the most important thing you could and should be doing this season: spending time with Jesus. Is a community of Christian believers too far away? Maybe you’ve met with them already but the holidays aren’t over yet. Why not get away with the One who is the reason for the season? Deck your house or apartment with trimmings, incense, lighting, whatever you can to recreate the familiar atmosphere that thrilled the child you knew from long ago. Then relax with the word and welcome the Lord into Christmas and a New Year as He reminds us of when the Creator of all things came to walk the earth. Immanuel: God with us, and with you, wherever you are. Happy Holidays!