My dear American Friends:
MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
On Christmas radio broadcast recording, I was going to preach a sermon entitled "THE JOY AND AGONY OF CHRISTMAS." After recording, I regreted that I chose the title and decided to record it again, which probably wasted the time of the co-workers. But the reason why I entitled like that originally was because I wanted to remind the people how much pain it took in the part of God and of Mary who had to give birth of baby Jesus without an earthly father;...the rumour and gossip people will spread around, may even be stoned according to the custom of the time. Perhaps that's why there were no rooms in the inns, born in a manger and move to Egypt when so many babies were killed. Certainly it must have been unbearable agony, as painful as God and Mary who, later, had to watch Jesus die on the Cross.
When I was writing the sermon, I also thought of our babies... agony of their mothers. Whatever the reason may be, perhaps the family problem, perhaps the problem of teen-mothers, they could not have abandoned the babies without heartbreaking agony! Now the babies are in the safe Hand of God, and now we are working with God to rear them safe and sound, but it's true that all mothers have broken hearts! So, I thought that we ought to think about the pain of Christmas also, as we think of the Joy of Christmas! and of the faithful and brave answer of Mary to the Angel "MAY IT HAPPEN TO ME. AS YOU HAVE SAID."
But Christmas is joyous season anyway anywhere (except North Korea probably. If they ever have a tree to celebrate, they probably hang the picture of their dictator and missiles). Actually our Christmas trees don't have much either, but we usually have those paper rings, paper flowers, used pencils, and lots of lots of love..our trees of course have Christmas candies too. Actually they hang candies up there and lick them whenever their spirit is low. And so our children's Christmas trees last long long time.
We sing Christmas carol too. Perhaps not as much as we used to, but, one thing that we South Korean Churches do every year, we set up tall Christmas trees in front line (hoping that some North Korean people can see), organize large Choir teams and sing Christmas carols as loud as we can, being guarded by the armed South Korean soldiers. (hoping that some North Koreans can hear). We know that the song may not reach North Korean farmers, but we want them to know that God loves them too.
In this Christmas, we are also waiting for the birth of another precious baby, MY FIRST GRANDSON! Actually, I have many grand-children already, but this one is special and I am looking forward to a tiny brandnew Chae and I hope that he will be a preacher too. And I can almost see my son and even my grandson preaching to vast crowd of Asia! We aged people tend to look back and remember tiny little event of the past in the course of our lives (I can sing whole stanza of the songs I learned in the kindergarten), but Moses stood on the top of Nebo mountain in the last moments of his life and looked at the future of His people.! I hope that I will keep on looking at the future of God's World, and not the past only!
In fact, I just came back from speaking at the sowing Convention of the Japanese Bible College. I spoke in English, but I spoke in Japanese also. Korea and Japan have been more like enemies throughout the history. But God taught us to love the enemy! And I learned Japanese and ended up my messages shouting "God loves you" with arms wide open! That's the SECRET OF THE WORLD PEACE, isn't it!..TO BE ONE IN CHRIST'S LOVE. May God's Love and Peace spread throughout the world!
Yours because of Calvary,
YOON KWON CHAE
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