by Kenny Joseph
Well, it’s that time again. Christmas birthday party time. The birthday party is in honor of the Lord Jesus Christ, born on Dec. 25, 000 A.D. and now celebrating His 1992nd birthday anniversary (or the 1,960th anniversary of death, as it is called in the Middle East). I’ve spent 41 Christmases in Japan, but they get bleaker and bleaker.
It’s not a very happy birthday for Him in Japan, either. Would you be happy if you were invited to your own birthday party and, after hearing “Happy Birthday To You” sung, everybody gave presents to each other and you got none?
Words fail me to try to express the grief that must be in Jesus’ heart. The Bible talks about the Trinity— the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—as a “Three-in-one, one-in-three mystery” and it specifically mentions “grieve not the Holy Spirit.” Don’t cause the Trinity grief. Grief is a word which means “deep sorrow, sadness, distress, suffering, anguish, woe, misery, bereavement, affliction, trouble, tribulation.”
Is that what you’d like to cause Jesus on His special day? “Of course not!,” you answer. So let’s try to see Christmas from Christ’s viewpoint, looking at it through His eyes, feeling it through His heart. Hey, it’s My birthday, you know!
In Japan we have not the Christian church or the mass media to thank for Christmas celebrations, but three competing candy companies: Morinaga, Meiji and Snow Brand. And the post-war GIs. They celebrated the first post-war Christmas in December, 1945, with Christmas parties at night clubs and on their bases.
Japanese, eager to mimic anything American at that time, picked up the idea that chocolate cake has something to do with Christmas and every year these companies vied with each other to make the biggest, sweetest decoration cake, pronounced “dekoreshon keiki.”
So, today’s Japanese idea of Christmas is that you get drunk at a Christmas party (which merges with a bonenkai, a Shinto end-of-the-year party). The only proof you celebrated Christmas is to stagger home carrying an expensive (¥2,000 or more) decoration cake on Dec. 24.
It’s a sacrificial gift to pacify your wife who is mad because you didn’t take her out. And so we have the perversion of the most sacred, silent night on the Christian calendar.
Now NHK, the BBC of Japan, radio and television, was founded to mimic Britain’s BBC on the premise that you can’t trust the people in an emergency who run the commercial radio and TV stations, so big brother “Uncle Samurai” has to make sure he can get his propaganda out correctly to the people whenever he wants to, and thus was formed NHK before the war to make sure the Japanese knew they were winning the war and America was losing.
After the war they “reformed” themselves and were to be a quasi-government operation. To earn your respect, they had to go around and collect monthly fees from every household, which gets them off the hook to get companies to buy commercial time.
Then the NHK hierarchy used the famous cliche, “We love you Christians and would love to promote MacArthur’s religion but, if we let you, we have to let the Communists and all the false religions. Therefore we can’t let any.”
Thus was founded the post-war, anti-religion slogan of “shugi sliiso issai kotowarimasu” (all isms and philosophies we refuse). Man is made up of soul, spirit and body, mind, emotion and will. At least two-thirds of that, you have to admit, is spiritual. That separates us from chimpanzees, dogs or cats. Dogs or cats can’t work computers. Or pray.
When I contacted NHK saying that I notice every Sunday, 52 Sundays a year, there is an hour’s program featuring the five political parties of Japan: the Liberal Democrats, two kinds of Socialists, the Buddhist Soka Gakkai and the Communists, giving Japanese a fair, balanced look at five different philosophies and opinions of government, why is evolution then force-fed?
Something that only the KGB of Russia and China do, because their government was founded on denying the first five words of the Bible, “In the beginning God created…”
They say there is no God and no creation, but evolution. Why, I asked, if you can show five different government philosophies, can you not show two philosophies of creation? One from the Bible called Creation Science as opposed to Evolutionary Science.
The answer came from an NHK official on NHK stationery: “I will only allow to be shown on NHK what I believe in, and I don’t believe in creation.” Period.
Would you believe, just after I wrote this, an article came in the mail confirming the theme. With permission from the author, Dr. Paul W. Ferris Jr. we quote:
“Recently, a Boston newspaper told the tragic story of a celebration gone wrong. Following the birth of their baby, an affluent young couple invited their friends and relatives to their luxurious home to celebrate the event. Not long after the guests arrived, the mother went to the bedroom to get the child, the main attraction everyone was eager to see. But upon entering the room and turning on the light, she discovered to her horror that the bed where her infant was sleeping was piled high with the coats of the guests. Underneath the mound, suffocated by their carelessness, lay the dead baby.”
This haunting story illustrates well what has happened to Christ on Christmas Day. Somewhere beneath the good things like Christmas trees, parties, tinsel and presents, we have forgotten the “Baby.” And somewhere beneath our pile of busyness, worries and fears, we have managed to smother the hope of His second coming. It is not a new phenomenon.
Two thousand years ago, the people of Bethlehem were preoccupied, too. At the heart of their evening discussion was politics—a flourishing Roman empire that would not go away. Perhaps someone whispered in the middle of it all, “Oh, that the Messiah would come. He would deliver us.”
But the conversation soon found its way back to Caesar Augstus, thus his senseless census and ever-increasing taxes. The Messiah? Yes, it was a wonderful promise, but hadn’t 2,000 years passed since Abraham held that hope? Hadn’t the prophets predicted His coming—centuries ago?
So, while the political scientists debated, the theologians dialogued and the wealthy worried, an angel appeared to the most unlikely of candidates: some poor, lonely shepherds—those who had laid aside the clutter of it all for the sake of their lambs.
Those who probably didn’t know much about politics or the Torah, for that matter. Those who didn’t know that angels don’t stoop to lowly shepherds. That Messiahs don’t come as lambs, but lions. That the Creator of the universe could never be cradled in a feeding trough. It still happens today.
While we debate and discuss important things like coming elections, increasing prices and economic woes, and an ever-darkening global picture, we miss the most important news of all. News that is too good to keep. News that can rekindle hope in the midst of hopelessness. Peace in the midst of a storm. News that a Savior is born—Christ the Lord. And news that He will come again for all who long for His appearing. Not Oct. 28,1992, “date-setting” like a small sect in Korea did. But He shall, like General MacArthur, return!
Are you ready? You can’t take part in His second coming until you accept His first coming. He has a gift for you this Christmas. Open it up and see. There are two things in the gift box: forgiveness of all your sins and a one-way ticket to Heaven with eternal life. To accept His two gifts, you must do only two things: Repent of all your sins and believe in and receive Jesus as your personal Savior. Then you can join the one billion Christians world-wide who sing the real Christmas carols, and sing:
“I gave my life for thee, my precious blood I shed;
That thou mightst ransomed be and quickened from the dead.
I gave, I gave it all for thee; what hast thou given me?”