How Can We Not Celebrate?

By Rachel Greco

A group of Christian believers residing on the banks of a river in South Asia sang and danced. The cold December air could not dampen their enthusiasm, for this was the day they celebrated the birth of their Lord and Savior.

Around a flickering fire, people ate rice, lentils, and mutton off leaf-sewn plates. A man led Sardi*, a Bible translation consultant who was visiting the village, to an aged man and introduced him to the elder: “This is Lumi, the elder of this village. He was the head temple priest of this village. He accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior during last Christmas [2020].”

Sardi sat close to Lumi who explained that the villagers usually slaughter sheep only on occasions when they are extremely happy. That day they had killed three! “How can we not celebrate the remembrance of a day when our Lord was born on this earth to live with us?” Lumi said while grinning.

Many people in South Asia now can read the Christmas story in their language!

Lumi then described how Christ was different than the home deities many in their community believed in. These deities stay away from them, and it is extremely difficult to invoke these deities to be with them. Every month on the new moon day, they would do special ceremonies and chanting to invite the deities, who would only bless them if the community performed these rituals. “But our Lord Jesus Christ desires to always be present with us,” Lumi said. “When I listen to the word of God in my own language, I experience Jesus speaking to me in my heart language. How joyful is this experience.”

During their discussion, a group of young people sang nearby. When Lumi heard the lyrics of the song, he too became excited. He lifted his hands and shouted hallelujah.

Two Christmases ago, Lumi accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. “I needed a God who was eager to stay with me, love me, share my sorrows and comfort me. I met that God in Jesus Christ. Today is the day when we celebrate his arrival on this earth.”

While Sardi washed his hands after the meal on the outskirts of the trees, he noticed scattered huts in the surrounding jungle. Perhaps many Lumis yet to meet Jesus Christ slept in those huts. With tear-moistened eyes, Sardi prayed for the villagers who did not know the Lord, that God would open their eyes to his salvation.

When he returned to the fire, the jungle once again melodiously resounded with songs extolling the birth of Christ, accompanied by folk percussion and wind instruments. How sweet that the Lord Jesus lived among us and has made himself known to these remote South Asians!

Merry Christmas! Pray with us that many people will have cause to celebrate the Lord Jesus as they hear or read his Word in their language.