by Rev. Kenny Joseph

“But Mom, it’s just another 20 days ’til Christmas. Why can’t I just open the presents now? At least peek at some of ’em,” I begged.

“Sorry, our tradition is, ‘Don’t open ’til Christmas!’ And that’s an order,” our usually soft-spoken Mom barked.

Though I’ve spent 42 Christmases in Tokyo and only 22 in Chicago, I can remember it as though it were yesterday. After I was caught opening one gift, Mom chased me around the dining room table with her battered wooden spoon.

Older sister, Millie, had X-ray vision. All the pre­sents were piled in the hall closet, and daily she went in to inspect. Every new addition she would feel, jiggle, shake, pound and guess what was in there and who it was for. She had about a .400 batting average. Sister Jeanne was more subtle; she’d try to pry out of each of us what we got for the others in the family.

“Hey Mom, what’s the big deal? Why can’t we at least look or feel or shake to see what we’re going to get? Why wait?”, I bugged.

“Because all the presents in that closet go under the tree when we get it. Then we’ll all wait until Christ­mas Eve. We’ll have a little family worship and then, on Christmas morning, Jesus’ birthday, you can open them. Not before! If you do, Santa Claus will come down the chimney and fill your stockings—not with presents, oranges, candies and goodies, but with dark, black, ugly coal chips,” Mom announced.

That was enough to keep us at bay to obey. “Don’t open ’til Christmas!” Simple. Just obey orders. Mom said so.

The Christ of Christmas, being the only begotten Son of God, was also under orders to wait. Even though He was born on Christmas Day, it took Him 30 years to reveal Himself and just three years of public ministry, ending on the cross, suffering the penalty for our sins.

“He could have called 10,000 angels to set Him free;

But He died alone…for you and me.”

He died for our sins, was buried and rose again, and that’s why we celebrate Easter, because He de­clared, “I am the resurrection and the light; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

But to get there, He had to obey and wait 30 years. Because ‘True Love Waits.”

“Second Sexual Revolution”

That’s the title of the most exciting happening in America this Christmas. More exciting than the recent election, called an earthquake, a tidal wave, a land­slide, a revolution, a rout, a big hole opening up and swallowing the Democrats, etc. A more important “revolution” took place on the Washington Mall in July of 1994. Strangely, the mass media couldn’t even find the place, right in front of the White House. Were they ashamed? Embarrassed?

What was that event?

Some 25,000 teenagers pounded 225,000 “True Love Waits” commitment cards in plastic cases into the Washington Mall grass.

These commitment cards said:

“Believing that true love waits, I make a commit­ment to God, myself, my family, those I date, my future mate and my future children, to be sexually pure  until the day I enter a Biblical marriage rela­tionship.”

How did this mass movement start? In 1993, two good-looking, typical teenagers decided to stand up and say, “Everybody is not doing it. Here I am. And here’s my boyfriend. That’s two. What about you?”

Those two became four, then 16. Those 16 became 32. Then 64, 128 and 256, and it exponentially grew like its opposite enemy, AIDS. Those two became 100,000 at their first big rally in Orlando, Florida. Their theme song, “True Love Waits.”

Those 100,000 became half a million, but only 220,000 commitment cards were brought to Washing­ton, since each had come with a $2 bill to cover ex­penses of the DC. mass meeting. It was a winning combination.

I preached last Sunday at a Filipino-Japanese church in Tokyo. Before showing my 50 overhead (OHP) sheets on the subject, ‘True Love Waits,” I asked the audience, “How many want to get AIDS?” Zero. Tokyo’s metropolitan government has declared De­cember “Stop AIDS” month. “But who believes the answer is more education and condoms?” Zilch.

What’s the answer? Abstinence.

An hour later, I asked, “How many are ready to take this purity pledge? Sign the commitment card after the message.”

I showed them how this decision touches four types of people:

  1. “I’m a born-again Christian, and I’m a virgin.” (Good, you stay that way until marriage!)
  2. “I’m a born-again Christian, but I’ve sinned.” (There is provision for you. You can start all over today, because God’s Son promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive, forget, erase, wash away our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So start all over again today as a “secondary” virgin.)
  3. “This doesn’t concern me. I’m old, married, got kids. Even grandkids.” (Fine, you promise to pray for your children and grandchildren every day, that they will stay sexually pure until marriage.)
  4. “Hey, I’d like to, but I don’t have the power to say no. I’m not even a Christian.” (Great! That’s why we’re here. To tell you that today you can receive two free gifts: forgiveness and deliverance of all your past sins and assurance of a home in heaven. Just do two things: repent of your sins and believe and receive Christ into your heart as your Saviour. Then Christ in you will enable you to say no and live pure ’til marriage.)

Finally, you say, “Thanks. I’ll think about it. I’ll tip­toe home now, quietly, like a little cat out the back door. I’ll make no decision now.”

Oh, but you have. There are only two decisions: receive or reject. You are rejecting. Please don’t. This Christmas give Christ your heart as His birthday present. Sign and send in the decision card. That Sun­day 43 did.

How did this all start here in Japan? I was “pushed over the cliff” when I read in the Yomiuri Shimbun (circulation eight million) that the Tokyo police have raided just three “telephone date clubs.” These are run by the yakuza, but you have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to prove it or break through the maze.

“All we do is introduce 13-17-year-old girls (middle school and high schoolers) to go on a date at a family restaurant with somebody who will talk to them on the telephone. Basically, we provide these girls with a free supper. That’s all our responsibility,” the yakuza say.

And, sure enough, the date happens to be a “hen na ojisan” (weird old man) who, after supper, goes many steps further until they end up in bed. The police report that, of 526 prostitutes they rounded up in a raid of just three telephone clubs, 80 percent were 13-17-year-old girls. How come young virgin girls are so’ popular? Because those men have gotten the message: “AIDS kills.”

Even though they have no fear of God (Whose Ten Commandments read, “Thou shalt not commit adul­tery”), there is the fear of AIDS. But that young “vir­gin” girl is pure, so he’ll pay ¥30,000 to ¥70,000 ($300-$700) to avoid that.

One man reportedly gave his young schoolgirl ¥700,000 ($7,000) worth of clothes and other goodies. Operating in gangs of three, the young girls also drug the offender, take his money and run. Meanwhile, he’s too embarrassed to file a police report. That’s today’s Japan!

We always knew where men stood, but when the pure virgins disappear at 13, there is no future for that country. Ditto for the good old USA. And Korea, Tai­wan, the Philippines and Thailand. An NHK-TV spe­cial showed that, while AIDS is leveling off in America, it is rising dramatically in Asia. The recent AIDS conference in Yokohama concluded 10 days of sessions with “no cure in sight.”

So, as this Second Sexual Revolution rolls across America, we pray that, as America “catches a cold,” Japan will “catch pneumonia.” To our everlasting surprise and thanks, Newsweek magazine came out with a special “Purity” feature story.

The Japanese edition (Oct. 20) carried a front page cover, “Bokura no junketsu Sengen” (Our Sexual Purity Proclamation), featuring two young, good-looking American teenagers. For nine pages it detailed this revolution. It was on 24,000 newsstands and in 18,000 bookstores in Japan. Hats off to Newsweek. The abstinence steamroller rumbles on. May their tribe increase!

National Basketball Association star A. C. Green of the Phoenix Suns started his own “Athletes for Absti­nence” Foundation and has a snappy video, “It Ain’t Worth It,” featuring four pro athletes and teen testi­monies ($19).

Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” has put out a purity video, “Sex, Lies and the Truth.”

Concerned Women for America’s 600,000 moms have another video, “Wait For Me.”

The 15 million Southern Baptists have a brief “True Love Waits” theme video and audio tape to go with a detailed campaign kit ($10).

The worldwide goal of the Baptist World Alliance and 30 other groups in 160 countries is to have two million signed covenant cards by Aug. 4, 1995, to be displayed at their international Christian convention in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Don’t open ’til Christmas! And so we take for our official logo this beautiful illustration: His and her hands reaching for the ribbon that will open the ex­pensive box, but the caption reads: “Don’t Open Un­til Marriage. True Love Waits.”.