The Hope of the World

Christmas 2011
East Java, Indonesia
Awakened before dawn by the call to prayer, I rise out of bed, dress in the dark and tip-toe up the winding stairway to my rooftop balcony.  My city rests in her cradle between three massive volcanoes.  After awhile, the sound of the mosques’ chanting retreats back into silence, allowing me a few precious minutes to soak up the early morning. 
A breeze stirs the damp clothes still hanging on the line. The wind rustles the leaves of a banana tree. I watch in wonder as the Creator begins to paint with light.  Beyond the city limits, the slopes of stately Mount Semeru emerge from darkness.  Pastels give way to the blazing sun, which rises in victory over the spirits of the night.  
With the new day, people step out of their front doors to chase their ambitions.  They haul their loads to market. A neighbor gets to work tiling the roof on his house.  A young mother sings to her baby.  A farmer’s rubber boots slosh through a muddy rice paddy. In every direction, activity fills the noisy streets and crowded alleys of this emerald green, rice terraced island.
Tomorrow is Christmas, and nobody around here seems to have any idea.
No tinsel, fake snow or glitter in shop windows. Nobody will rush out tonight to purchase one more present to stuff under the tree. As far as I know, Santa and his reindeer have never visited this place. It all used to bother me. But nowadays I have grown to prefer Christmas here. Something about it feels a bit more like that first night. Original, raw and earthy. Poor. The cry of a newborn baby rises in the darkness and drifts over a moonlit village. A teenaged mother groans in pain as her husband does his best to make her comfortable in a stable. The world outside goes on sleeping, unaware that the hope of humanity lies nearby in his mother’s gentle arms.
Jesus, Light of the World, You are my hope.
I celebrate the opportunity to carry your love into my city today. Thank you for the honor you have entrusted to me and my friends to live here. I truly, passionately, love serving here. Thank you for giving us a chance to open schools of hope in places where most children have never heard of Christmas. Thank you for the beautiful faces of these amazing kids in our schools and orphanages. I celebrate that You have a purpose and an amazing future waiting for them. Thank you for calling dedicated teachers to serve with Mustard Seed. Thank you for calling others back home to give so generously.  Bless them today Lord Jesus. Fill their homes and hearts with your peace. Jesus, you are worth dying for, and the mission you have placed before us is worth living for.
Blessed be Your Name.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *