Summary: A short talk for our annual Christingle services that are attended by approx 600 people, many of whom are seekers and occasional Church attenders. This talk compares truth and lies and focuses on a true story from Papua New Guinea that helped evangelist D
I recently came across a few tongue-in-cheek guidelines for Christmas eating:
1. If you eat something and no-one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
2. If you drink a diet drink with chocolate, the calories in the chocolate bar are cancelled out by the calories in the diet drink!
3. When you eat with someone else the calories don’t count if they eat more than you do.
4. Drink used for medicinal purposes never counts; especially mulled wine, sherry or brandy.
5. If you fatten everyone else around you, then you will look much thinner!
6. Things licked off spoons contain no calories, especially brandy-butter!
7. Foods with similar colouring have the same calories; e.g. turkey and white chocolate.
It’s light-hearted fun; except of course they’re not true, and we tend to tell both white ones and dark ones!
Lies are a bit like chocolate. They might make you feel better at the time, and they might even taste really good; but whether they are white ones or dark ones they are not good for you and they will eventually start to show.
Lies are about darkness, cover-ups, concealing or hiding the truth; but the gift of Christmas – the gift of Jesus to the world – is about truth; God unwrapping and revealing himself; and about Jesus being the Light of the world.
But how do we communicate the truth of Jesus to a world that loves presents and decorations, but does not really like Heaven’s declarations? Here’s one true story that might help: In 1962, the Sawi tribes of New Guinea lived in relative isolation. They were head-hunting cannibals; yet Don and Carol Richardson attempted to share Jesus with them. In fact, two rival tribes were so fascinated by Don and Carol that they moved their own villages, rebuilding them around the Richardsons’ jungle home!
But Don became frustrated by his inability to find a point of contact, and discouraged by the 14 civil wars he witnessed outside his front door where two tribes lived side by side. So Don & Carol decided to leave; but the Sawi response surprised them: "If you stay we promise to make peace in the morning." The next morning Don and Carol awoke to an amazing ritual. The tribes lined up outside their homes on either side of the clearing. A man went into his hut, grabbed his new-born only son, and ran across the meadow to the other tribe. His expression betrayed absolute agony. His wife ran after him, begging him to give the baby to her. But he wouldn’t stop. He presented the boy to the other tribe, saying, "Plead the peace child for me. I give you my son, and I give you my name." A man from that tribe then performed the same agonizing sacrifice with equal intensity and passion – because as long as those two children remained alive, the tribes were bound to peace; and Don realized this was the analogy he needed to communicate Jesus.
When he next spoke to the Sawi elders Don told them of the perfect Peace Child, Jesus. Eventually, many Sawi became followers of Christ, and a few years later, on Christmas day, hundreds of Sawi from every tribe gathered together peacefully for a feast for the first time. A Sawi preacher read words from the Bible that few people in the world have understood so clearly: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders. He shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
We need the Peace-Child, Jesus, in our families, in our country, and in our world. God has given us His Son, born in Bethlehem about 2010 years ago; but it became an agonizing sacrifice because 33 years later it cost Jesus his life. Jesus is our Peace-Child, sent to make peace between you and God, peace between you and your family, and peace between you …and you! As we exchange gifts tomorrow, let’s think of Jesus, our peace-child, and be very thankful.