The timid youth hid their emotions as we began the English class. Today, the last class before the break we would talk about Christmas. Not about the pagan origins of the celebration that still remained to a vast majority in Japan but about the Christian meaning. When I asked what Christmas was about besides Santa Claus, the blank stares I received reflected more than lack of English ability but little or no knowledge whatsoever of Jesus’ birthday celebration. I had been surprised before in my English classes but never more than now. These students seemed to never have heard of Jesus. It was a wonderful opportunity for me, but I wondered if these junior high students might never have heard about Jesus if I had not come to Japan. When I talked about the cross, the resurrection and the fact that Christians believe Jesus is God in the flesh, there may have been a glimmer of recognition in one or two pair of eyes. The bottom line is that I am thankful that I did come to Japan and share the Good News of the Gospel because I not sure they would have ever heard the message otherwise.
Note: This is throwback article written a number of years ago while I was in Japan.