Tag: John 3:16

The Culture Mix

Years ago, when my husband and I were driving along the coastline on the island of Oahu, Hawaii we saw a small kiosk on the side of the road called “Pablo Goldstein’s Taco Stand.” For some reason, a man with a Hispanic first name and a Jewish last name selling tacos on the tropical island of Oahu struck me as a little humorous.

941841_10151675158796057_1415540569_nIn many countries where we travel for ministry, we teach among a cultural mix. Several times, I have spoken to women’s groups and asked them how many different nationalities were represented. The results have been as little as three and as many as twenty-something. I am always amazed at how well people with different backgrounds blend together.

Of course, that is not always true. The news and history are filled with stories of cultural clashes. Wars have been fought and borders have been redrawn because of those differences.

After the Second World War, the United Nations was established for the purpose of promoting international co-operation. Hopefully, because of the United Nations, some conflicts have been held in check, but even with 193 member states, cultural conflicts continue throughout the world.

The difference, I believe, in looking past cultural differences and working together or having those differences become a source of conflict is based in one’s attitude toward mankind as governed by a belief system. When I am traveling and teaching, it is among Christians. Christ came to save all men and women.

International groups and churches that I have been a part of certainly have had adjustment issues, but because of Christ, they were usually worked out. Often, the mix of cultures gives an interesting flavor to the worship services. In some churches, for example, the music teams are rotated between different cultural groups.

My life has been greatly enriched by exposure to cultures other than my own.

For God so loved the world that He gave HIs only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35).

Sunrise on Christmas Day

People around the world look forward to sunrise on Christmas day with eager anticipation, especially young ones. Children who have been told that they cannot look under the Christmas tree until after sunrise can hardly wait for the sun to come up. They hardly sleep the night before and when the slightest hint of light comes out in the morning, they run to their parents and ask, “May I get up now? May I see what Santa brought?”

???????????????????????????????The traditions of Christmas are about family, food and gifts. Some people spend all year thinking about the next Christmas. They shop a little during the year, hide the gifts away and save up for the special treats that the family loves to eat at Christmas time. More books, songs and movies revolve around Christmas than any other holiday. It is a celebration for people of all nations and cultures, even for those who do not believe in the Christ who made it all possible.

The first Christmas was anticipated for centuries. The prophets spoke about the coming of the Christ child long before that day Mary gave birth to Him and laid Him in a manger. Mary herself must have been excited about the dawn of the day when the promise given to her was born from her own body. That sunrise brought her Son to her and to the world.

As people choose Christmas gifts, they put much thought into it because they want to please the ones they love. Sometimes that entails sacrifice on their part. They may scrimp and save in order to get that special item to wrap and put under the tree.

The gift of the Son to save the world was planned by God before time began. He knew the gift that was needed and He sacrificed much in order to give that gift. God’s love for us is so great that He was willing to suffer to give us the gift that we needed most.

As the sun rose on that first Christmas, one day the Son will rise again. What God promises He fulfills.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).