2017’s celebration of Christ’s birthday is over but God’s love for mankind is never-ending. Everyday we can celebrate Immanuel – God with us. All around the world individuals and families have received God’s gift of His one and only Son, Jesus, as Savior and Lord. His amazing love and grace has transformed lives, including mine.
Christ-followers in Japan are in a small minority – less than 1% of the population. For the 99% of Japanese who do not yet know the true meaning of Christmas, there are several western customs that they have adopted. Going out on Christmas Eve to celebrate with a KFC pre-ordered chicken meal or gathering with friends around a decorated Christmas cake were two popular customs when my family lived there.
We lived on the northern most island of Hokkaido so we had a White Christmas more often than not. We loved inviting friends and neighbors to Jesus’ birthday celebrations. Since the 25th was not an official holiday, churches would hold their special Christmas worship service the Sunday before.
During our twenty-six years in Japan we loved to shop at the few Christian bookstores opened for business. At Christmas time there were many lovely nativity sets imported from around the world, but nothing that was uniquely Japanese. That is, until we found the item in the photo above…a sweet nativity created by the Japanese with their unique art traditions. How special it is to celebrate with the Japanese the fact that Jesus who came on that night in Bethlehem came also for His beloved Japanese.
For His Glory!