They sang it as they walked through the jungle. A tribe of people hatcheted their way through the vines to reach the neighboring village. Their words took on special meaning for me. Here are these people, without the common comforts I am so used to, joyful in the gifts they have received in knowing Christ. He didn’t solve all their problems. He didn’t take them out of a jungle or away from a church made of mud or to a place with running water and air conditioning. What exactly are they singing about, I wonder? What good things did Jesus bring?
I tried to place myself in their shoes, or more correctly, bare feet. What are all the good things that Christ brings to a culture previously untouched with a knowledge of His word? And conversely, what are the good things that I enjoy because I know Christ or others around me know Him.
Imagine the introduction of the Ten Commandments.
Imagine learning that you should love your neighbor.
Imagine learning that God loves you.
Imagine learning that we should all work to support ourselves and our families.
Imagine learning that you should respect your parents.
Imagine learning that God will one day chain the forces of evil forever and that He will make a new heaven and a new earth for those who love Him to enjoy with him.
Imagine learning that marriage should be honored by all.
Imagine learning that you are a sinner.
Imagine learning that Christ took your punishment on Himself.
Imagine the implications that the acceptance of these ideas have on a culture, even if only a few people hold to them. Consider how those beliefs have shaped the culture we have. Everything we have is touched in some way by a worldview largely influenced by a Judeo-Christian ethic. Without it, my world would be very different. With the introduction of it, these tribal people are finding
that good things have come.
Of course a knowledge of good necessarily leads us into a confrontation with evil, either within us or outside of ourselves. But that, in itself, is not a bad thing. It is the work that makes the world into a better place and us into better people. So whether we consider the blessings of knowing Christ, or the sacrifices of following Him, we are experiencing something inherently good–even if it is unpleasant.
This is Christmas Eve, the words of these people still echo in my mind as I read what the angels said the night Jesus was born:
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
How true it really is!
Good things happen when Jesus comes!