Dec. 19, 2016

Advent week 5, December 19-25
Hope of All Nations

Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 2:14

“I would I had a thousand lives that I might give them to ... China!” - Lottie Moon

This week as we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child, we will also contemplate the words of the resurrected Christ to make disciples of all nations. One of the largest continents of the world, Asia, is the least evangelized. In China, only about one percent of people are Christians, and most people only know a few things about Christmas. Because of this, Christmas is only often celebrated in major cities. Ironically, most of the world's plastic Christmas trees and decorations are made in China; however, few of the people making the decorations know their meaning.

A popular Chinese Christmas Eve tradition is giving apples. Many stores sell apples wrapped in colored paper. People give apples on Christmas Eve because, in Chinese, Christmas Eve is called "Ping'an Ye" (平安夜), meaning peaceful or quiet evening, translated from the carol “Silent Night.” The word for apple in Mandarin is "píngguǒ" (苹果) which sounds like the word for peace.

In Luke 2:14, the angels praised God and declared “and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Today, pray for the people of China to understand that the meaning of Christmas is Jesus who came to our world to be our Savior and make peace with a holy God.