Christmas is awesome.
Every year so much of the world transforms into Christmas trees, lights, and festive music. People prepare to celebrate with feasts and worship and the extravagant giving of gifts. It is a time of year many look forward to with joy.
At least in the west.
At this point in our lives, we have spent many years (and look forward to spending many many more) in the unreached world of the far east. I can not tell you how many people I have come across over the years that have never heard the Gospel of Salvation.
Many have never heard of Jesus, but multitudes have never heard the Gospel.
But do you know what most have heard of? Christmas.
Yep. When we lived in Southeast Asia, so many had no idea what it meant, but they knew about Christmas. America is exceptionally good at marketing and we have marketed Christmas from New York to Delhi because Christmas is big big BIG money. The beautiful tradition of giving gifts to those you love is so easily manipulated to be about spending, spending, and more spending.
As a result, good ole Saint Nick (who was quite an awesome follower of Jesus, by the way) has painted the world red and white. Christmas trees are everywhere. Lights twinkle from Boise to Bangkok, especially in the malls.
Now, let’s pause for a moment and pay attention to how you feel inside. Perhaps, like many who spend a lot of time in church, you feel annoyed that the beloved celebration of Jesus’ birth is so marketed and exploited. And dude, I get it. It can be so ridiculous here in the USA that Jesus is not only forgotten but shunned.
“Give us your good things, but don’t give us you,” seems to be the message. And I, along with most Christians, wholeheartedly reject such a twisted heart position. All good things, from our breath to the simple taste of Chocolate comes from God. They are all from him, and if we reject Him, in the end we will reject all He gives.
But if you feel this way, I (as usual) would like to offer a different perspective to add. Although Christmas has been hijacked, this actually opens an open door in many parts of the world because although people have not heard the Gospel (or maybe not even Jesus) they have heard of Christmas. As we spent many Christmases on the mission outside of the USA, we discovered a simple question was so powerful.
Do you know what Christmas is about?
The answer, most often was no. So then we ask a second question: Would you like to?
And if the answer is yes, it is an open opportunity to have a polite discussion about what we celebrate and why. Jesus was born in the flesh, and this is what we celebrate. Why? To reconcile us to God, to bring God’s Kingdom to earth, and to save us from our sins.
Or, in other words, the Gospel.
This is why Christmas is such a great time to reach out with the love of Jesus. We have done this in so many different ways throughout the years. Here are just a few of the ways we have done so at Hasten.
- We have thrown Christmas feast for hungry and suffering refuges.
- We have given out blankets, food, and supplies to the poor in preparation for the winter.
- We have had Christmas parties where we give gifts and sing songs and share the Christmas story along with the Gospel.
- We have thrown large outreaches where we do all of these things at once and give away free live chickens (this was a blast. No refrigerator means that there is only one way to keep meat fresh — keep it alive)
And in every single instance, the outreaches were massively successful. The message is almost always the same.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
God loved us so much that He gave, and we come to demonstrate God’s love by giving. No matter if those who come to our outreaches believe in Jesus or not, we give the lavish gifts. Regardless of whether the people believe, the gift was given. Just take the gift with you; don’t leave it here. The gifts are free; they cost you nothing. All you have to do is receive it. Salvation was given; all you have to do is receive it.
Now, I must pause here to address a common lie that is spread by those who hate Christianity. That lie is that you must believe to get the gifts during Christian outreaches. This is simply NOT true. I have never met a single pastor or missionary that requires some sort of confession of Christian faith to receive aid. I’m sure some misguided person has done this before, but I have never seen it and would rebuke it if I did. The truth is, we are sent to love by Jesus, and that is what we come to do – love. We offer the gifts, and all they have to do is take it.
Just like salvation.
This is why Christmas is such a great time to win souls for Jesus! No matter where you live, you can ask people if they know why we celebrate the birth of Jesus. That leads to the Gospel every time!
This year, like almost every year, we are doing our part in the unreached world. We are currently fundraising to do four major Christmas season outreaches. These include:
- Giving a new kitchen to one of our Kid’s host homes in Chitwan, Nepal.
- Blessing an entire community in Pokhara, Nepal with supplies, food (including that live chicken), and a feast.
- Blessing every one of the kid’s we care for full-time and the host parents with Christmas gifts.
- Blessing around 30 pastors and their families with a Christmas blessing in appreciation for all of their service to their communities and to unreached people groups.
It’s such an exciting time of year! We get really happy every Christmas as we get to love people in such a way! And you are invited to share in that joy. Join in with us and feel the joy of the Lord as we make Christmas not just about the commercial meaning or about the gifts received, but also about giving to others, especially those in true need.
May this entire holiday season be full of joy!!!!!!! Let’s celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior and share His love with as many people as we can!
All to Jesus!
P.S. If you have any questions about our outreaches, just email me back. If you want to give or learn more, you can go to the outreach page on our website.