Over the coming four weeks, we will use stories from the world of Bible translation and traditional Advent themes from the church calendar to consider the wonder of God’s relationship with his people.
The first week of Advent is traditionally a time to consider the patriarchs – the forefathers of the faith – so today we are considering the theme of handing on the faith.
I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old –
things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
Praise God for those who handed on the faith to you
Who first shared the good news of Jesus with you? Perhaps it was a parent or grandparent, or maybe a friend or colleague. Think further back to all the people who went before you and made that possible: those who told their children and grandchildren what God has done; those who travelled from their homes to bring the good news to this country; and those who translated the Bible.
Ask God to help you as you share the good news of Jesus with others
Now consider how you are sharing the good news of Jesus. Think of all the different ways: telling friends about what God has done in your life, praying for a member of your family, helping at one of the children’s groups in your church, or supporting the work of an organisation or individual through giving and prayer.
A first Christmas
Last year, one woman was desperate to share about the birth of Christ. Gasira* had just read the Christmas story in her own language, Bydla*, for the first time, using the newly translated New Testament.
Despite the danger of living in a place where Christians suffer persecution, Gasira and about 50 others joined together to celebrate the birth of Christ. They secretly studied the Christmas story, sang Christian songs in Bydla, and ate together.
They even gave out presents – copies of the Bydla New Testament!
‘We read about the birth of Jesus together,’ she reports. ‘People were so touched and said, “We were really missing something that was so important in our life,” which is knowing the word of God. They were so excited and elated they were reading the word of God!’
Gasira’s story is a great reminder that through the power of God’s written word people can come to know Christ, the living Word. As Martin Luther said, ‘Scripture is the manger in which we find Christ.’
* Name changed for security reasons