International Ministries

Trimming the Traditions

December 3, 2011 Journal
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Christmas traditions and customs around the world spark curiosity.  In 1988, during our first year in Japan, we enjoyed getting to know some traditions that the country, (about one percent Christian) celebrates. In our church, Kanazawa Bunko Baptist Church, we celebrated Advent and the birth of Jesus, but outside the church, we saw a totally different view of the holiday.  

 Christmas without Christ, but with all the trimmings...different indeed from the celebration we remember.  As you read about some of the Japanese traditions, you may want to smile, but amazingly, the very first Christmas came without any of our traditions or trimmings either. The very first Christmas somehow started a frenzy without the power of TV, candy canes, stockings, parties, or advertisements telling us to give and buy. It came without Santa, or “Black Friday.” Even more amazingly, the very first Christmas involved a poor couple, “nobodies” under Roman power, who would lay the most precious gift of all in a manger.

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (NIV)