Good Tidings of Great Joy
December 1, 2002 - Families living day to day in tropical Africa are not counting down the shopping days before Christmas. Children scavenging for firewood in chilly eastern Europe are not dreaming of a white Christmas.
by Franklin Graham
Like the shepherds on the night watch near Bethlehem, they don't realize that this may be the season, the day, maybe even the hour, that the Good News of Jesus Christ will be revealed to them.
The Bible says, '"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord' " (Luke 2:9-11, NIV).
That's the wonderful message of Christmas: A Savior has been born to you!
To those who have never heard or understood the Gospel, there is no better time than Christmas for us to share our faith with our neighbors and with the world. The story—simple and yet profound—is so appealing. Jesus Christ—the Son of God Himself—has entered history as a baby. He came to shed His blood, die on a Roman cross for the sins of the world and then rise from the grave. No one is beyond His love.
In the weeks ahead, millions of children and their families will experience the true meaning of Christmas through the global ministry of Operation Christmas Child. Churches and missionaries around the world will hand out gift-filled shoe boxes that have been packed with love and prayer, along with booklets that tell the story of Christmas in the local languages. I have had the blessing of personally presenting hundreds and hundreds of these gifts in places like Kosovo, Bosnia, Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Rwanda. This month, if the Lord allows, I am looking forward to giving them to children suffering from the AIDS epidemic in Uganda and the civil war in Sudan.
Many of these children have never celebrated Christmas in any way. Their eyes light up as they discover the simple treasures inside their shoe boxes. They realize that someone they don't know loves them and cares for them. It's an ideal situation for Christian friends and neighbors to tell them about Jesus. No matter when the boxes are delivered, it always seems like Christmas Day.
May God bless you and your loved ones this Christmas season.