My dear American Friends:
Korean babies have many birthday celebrations. It is because, I suppose, many babies used to die before they reach one year old. For instance, we celebrate three weeks' birthday, one hundred days' birthday and then one year birthday. Actually one year birthday is the biggest and then we celebrate twentieth year, sixtieth year, seventieth year, etc. For a father who has over 80 children and over ten babies, almost everyday is celebration! And we dare not to forget their celebrations, because many of them came from the streets, some even from where you can not even imagine! Remember the twin baby girls? WE JUST CELEBRATED THEIR FIRST YEAR BIRTHDAY. and I am sending their photo with their birthday dresses! They are still smiling and laughing.... (They do not always smile though... they may cry like hell, but to me even their crying is beautiful music! In fact, I am thinking of raising them as a duet singer) You probably heard about a little custom(?) or a game we play for the first year birthday babies. We place all sort of things in front of them and predict? or talk about their future by the first thing they pick up... a banker if they pick up money first, an athlete if a ball etc. I was happy when these twins picked up a hymn book (mainly because I placed it in front.)
For our childrens' birthdays, I try to give them something warm, something to read and something sweet with some cash if they are old enough to use It. In fact, all of our children have their own bank books, (even though it's very small amount, we try to save for their future). Many years ago, a boy received a warm muffler for his birthday present. He grew up and married since and everybody practically forgot about the muffler. But some years later, I heard that their marriage was in trouble, because of the muffler. The husband would never part from the muffler and the new wife suspected that the muffler was a gift from another girl. In fact, I had to counsel with them many times and eventually, the problem was solved. In fact, they decided to GIVE MUFFLERS TO EVERYONE OF OUR CHILDREN.
Talking of counseling, we have a counseling center in our Home, and I am often involved with counseling of many endangered marriages, which, I found, is the most difficult counseling in the world! There are just too many families in trouble. I try to give good advises, but most of time, I have no words to say. I just listen to them and sometimes I just look at their shoes. They look at my shoes too. Eventually, they stand up and thank me for listening (and for looking at their shoes, I suppose). I guess 'SILENCE' CAN BE GOOD WORDS SOMETIMES. Certainly, in the case of Jesus as he was silent and wrote words on ground in front of the angry crowd with an accused woman was a powerful sermon.
These days, especially on this family month, I am preaching a series of sermons on "Kingdom of God." To the Pharisees' political question "When the Kingdom of God would come," Jesus' answer was "Kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17: 20-21)" Some explain it like some of the Buddhists, "It's the state(status?) of your mind." Some explain it like some of the Confusiunists, "It's your relationship with the others." To me, what Jesus taught was "The KINGDOM OF GOD IS THE WORLD WHERE HIS WORDS ARE OBEYED AND PRACTICED!" And I believe that Kingdom is here -- where His Words are obeyed and practiced! It may not be a building, it may not be an organization! but Kingdom of God is here. And then I try to explain Theocracy, people, land, law of Kingdom of God, etc. And we are excited that Our God rules today even if there are so much pain, tragedies and killings in this world! When our children learned about the tornadoes in America, our children prayed. I heard one child praying "Make our friends be patient just a little bit more, because Jesus is Coming soon." That will be a great day, isn't it! Someone said the word 'JOY' represent 'Jesus, Others, Youself.' The Great day is coming, because of Your Faith, others' Love and our Lord, JESUS CHRIST!.' Even if you lost everything, if you have Jesus Christ, you still have JOY and you still have ALL!
Yours because of Calvary,
YOON KWON CHAE
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