I love Christmas, but in Japan for the most part it doesn’t have a lot to do with Christ. Christmas trees appear from around about the beginning of November. The urgency of ordering your “Christmas cake” (a sponge cake with cream and strawberries) is thrust upon us, along with the general assumption that you’ll have fried chicken with your friends or family to celebrate. Christmas sales, Christmas concerts, and Christmas cards are all around: but few have anything to do with the Saviour of the world being born.
Despite all this Christmas is a great time to be a Christian in Japan—because most Japanese people are far more open to an invitation to church or to hear about Jesus during the Christmas season than at any other time.
After graduating from university I spent eleven months as an OMF Serve Asia worker teaching English classes in an OMF-led church plant. We held a Christmas party with an evangelistic talk and I invited various people, including the students. About 20 of those I invited came—and I’d only been in the church around three months! At least two of those guests have since become Christians.
A few years later at another church plant in Hokkaido we had only a dozen regular members at our Sunday services, but we had 100 people at our Christmas party where guests heard the gospel. And another time a few of us handed out tracts at a busy shopping street just before Christmas and amazingly we ran out in about half an hour.
So, if you know any Japanese people and you’re reading this around Christmas time, I encourage you to pluck up the courage to invite them to an event where they can hear about Jesus.
I invite you to pray with us too.
Will you pray for Japan?
Pray that, with larger than usual number of Japanese people open to hearing about Christ during this season—
- people would hear with open hearts,
- the truth would stick, and
- many would be brought to worship the baby who was born in Bethlehem.