Our guest blogger and OMF missionary in Japan, Levi Booth, explores the importance of post-Christmas evangelism:
I’m guessing the Christmas season is over in the UK? I mean technically your tree and decorations should all be down by now, right?
In Japan Christmas is definitely over. It’s a distant memory in fact. For the first half of December shops everywhere had decorations up and Christmas songs playing, but once we hit the 26th that all changed. Overnight the music changed. We were into full-on New Years mode. People were off traveling to visit family, enjoying drinking parties, and hunting for bargains in the sales.
And then today (January 8th) it’s ‘coming of age day’ so my instagram and facebook feeds are overrun with photos of twenty-year-olds in kimonos and suits (boys generally leave the traditional Japanese dress to the girls). And from tomorrow it’ll be back to normal school term and working life.
Christmas in Japan is undoubtedly the easiest time to invite people to church. We were even allowed to advertise for our Christmas party at the local community center, despite their usual restrictions on religious events, and we had over forty people come and hear about the birth of Christ. All over Japan the Christmas season creates amazing opportunities for Christians to share the good news.
But now the Christmas season is well and truly over. So what now?
We rejoice in the good news of Christmas, that’s what.
The news that the Christ has been born. The King has come. God came to earth. And he didn’t remain a baby. Christmas was only for a season. It was only always for a season. If Jesus had remained an infant – silently sleeping in a horse trough – their would be no hope for Japan. None for you or me either, for that matter. He outgrew the stable (or guestroom, whichever it was). He outgrew Bethlehem. He outgrew Nazareth. He lived the perfect life, he died the perfect sacrifice, he was risen and now he reigns as the perfect high priest, and the perfect king.
For sure Christmas creates great opportunities to introduce people in Japan to Jesus. But our hope as Christians is not in the season of Christmas but in the Spirit of Christ – in us, empowering us, guiding us to make disciples of Jesus whatever songs play in shops or movies play on TV.
Maybe you’re feeling the post-christmas ‘what now?’ blues. After all, Japan and the UK aren’t so different. OK, they’re crazy different. But British people can be just as apathetic about Jesus as the Japanese. So it might feel like you too have missed your chance to introduce people to Him. Maybe next Christmas, eh?
Or how about join me in praying. Praying for ordinary Japanese Christians to have boldness to share the gospel with friends and family this new year season. Praying for missionaries to not lose heart, but to rather be filled with expectant faith for what God will do through his church in the coming months. And know that I am also praying for you to have opportunies and boldness to share about Jesus, whatever the season.
Christmas is over: long live the Christ!
About the author:
Levi lives in Yokohama (a bit west of Tokyo) and works for a church there. When he’s not working there, guest blogging here or writing on his own blog, he can be found exploring Japan by foot, playing Ultimate Frisbee, or relaxing in a cafe with espresso and manga.