Thursday, December 02, 2010
Christmas perspective from Zambia, Africa
A message of truth and conviction from one of my best friends, David, who serves at an orphanage in Africa. I pray it speaks to your heart and that you allow it to bear fruit for His glory. So many around us are hungry and cold in this Christmas time. Will you reach out and touch a life? Will I?
"I play my best for Him"
“Do you have a Christmas Carol for them?” Lynette, a Lifesong teacher, was asking me this question on Monday because we are preparing for our annual Christmas party. As part of the festivities, the fourth grade will present some Christmas carols to the rest of the school. Lynette wanted some suggestions for her students.
Those of you who know me well will smile at the thought of someone asking me for recommendations on Christmas songs. I have loved Christmas since I was about six-years-old. The decorations, presents and inspiring music are very appealing to the child’s heart and mind.
As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate Christmas as more than twinkling trees, brightly colored packages and festive parties. Christmas is a time when we celebrate great joy. The joy brought into the world by the humility of its King. The Creator became his creation in order to bring us a future and a hope. The trees, presents and parties are but a small part of Christmas’ joy.
The song I settled on to recommend was “The Little Drummer Boy.” Some of the children have heard this song while riding in the Lifesong truck with me and really liked it. I think the rhythm appeals to the African musical heart. I didn’t realize the appropriateness of the song until I started to tell the kids the story connected to the song. It’s the story of a small boy who meets the wise men on their journey to worship Jesus. He is not wealthy as they are but is nonetheless invited to come and see the newborn king. All he has is a small drum and so he decides to offer his musical talent to the baby Jesus.
“I am a poor boy too. I have no gift to bring. That’s fit to give the King. Shall I play for you?” Goes the song. Mary approves and he plays his best for the King of kings: “I played my drum for him. I played my best for him.”
As I told this story to twenty orphans and vulnerable children in Africa I had to choke back some tears. You see, they are poor as well. They have no fine gifts to bring the King. They have no wealth and no consequence. They will probably have some sort of Christmas celebration at their homes but in comparison to ours, their parties will be shabby and impoverished. In the middle of this contrast between our wealth and their poverty I seem to hear the words of Isaiah confirmed by Jesus, “The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.”
Good news. For these children, it is the greatest news they will ever encounter. They need not be wealthy and prosperous. They need not spend hundreds of dollars on gifts and parties. They need only bring their best to King Jesus. They, like he was, have been born into less-than-ideal circumstances. They do not know the comfort, wealth and stability that we know. What they can know is an eternal inheritance with wealth and comfort beyond anything we in the States have ever seen.
It remains then our challenge to see past our wealth and live for the true wealth of Heaven. Christmas is not about the ability to buy expensive gifts and host lavish parties. It is about the true riches that Christ brought to us in his humility. He became poor to serve us and is now the wealthiest king in all of Creation.
May the joy of this Christmas season and the love that it brings fill your hearts and souls. If God lays it on your heart, take some time this Christmas season to reach out to the poor in your community. You will be blessed .
To close, I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite stories: Charles Dicken’sA Christmas Carol. In it the ghost of Jacob Marley tells the incredulous Ebenezer Scrooge, “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop in the ocean of my business!” May we all find the grace to look beyond our worldly concerns to those that will forever impact eternity. God bless you all!