I have received a big gift from God for this Christmas season!
Gifts can come in many forms. Most people associate the word “gift” with a physical object like a ring or a toy. But these last couple of years, my Christmas gift from God has been the gift of his fatherly presence.
Since coming to Japan 18 months ago, my family has encountered many challenges. We manage to stand tall today only because of abundant blessings from God.
Last year around Christmas, I was at the peak of the stress of the initial transition to life in Japan. Being a new resident here and living in Sapporo’s cold and snowy weather, I was despairing and feeling totally useless.
But on New Year’s Eve, for the first time in my life, I got to watch Kohaku Uta Gassen on LIVE television in Japan! The “Red and White Song Show,” an annual year-end pop music competition, has been my favourite NHK (Japanese public television) show since I was a teenager. Watching it live profoundly warmed my heart, reminding me of my passion for Japanese culture since I was young. God seeded his calling in my heart even then. To me, watching the show on live TV was a big Christmas gift from God. I almost felt as though God was watching the show with me!
Faithful servants of God always encounter challenges. God never promised us easy journeys ahead, but what he always guarantees is his fatherly presence.
In Deuteronomy 1:30-31, Moses reminds the Israelites that “The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place” (NIV).
This powerful reminder still rings true. With our Father, we are safe, secure, and satisfied like a weaned baby, and we can smile like an contented child even during rough journeys.
May all of us be encouraged by this passage. I pray that God will shower all of us with an abundance of blessings in this Christmas season and in the new year.
By Chrison, an OMF Missionary