My final thought about Christmas is about the nations. Having traveled much of planet earth preaching the good news that the Savior has come; I have seen many and varied types of Christmas celebrations. The Eastern Church has Christmas in January, The African Church follows the West, and there are many places that actually have a good Christmas without a tree! Imagine that? My point is that we Americans do not own Christmas. We sing, “Joy to the World” and well we should, because Jesus is the Savior of all the nations. Scripture says it clearly, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son.”
Notice it is the “world” that God loves. The word in Greek is “cosmos.” All our English words like cosmology, cosmopolitan, etc. come from this word. It speaks of the whole, the big, and the complete human population. The world in scripture means Jesus does not belong to any one tribe or people group.
There is another word used in the New Testament that often gets translated as “world.” It is the Greek, “ethnos”. Frequently, the ethnos means the same as cosmos. However, it has a more definite meaning which translates as “nations.” When concluding his letter to the Romans, Paul affirms that the gospel must reach all the “ethnos” (Romans 16:26). He means that within the cosmos (whole earth) there are many “ethnos,” individual nations, or tribes. God will not be satisfied until every tribe, every people group, and every tongue confesses that His Son is Lord! Christmas reminds me of this truth – God loves the nations, and there are millions within the 10/40 window that still have no Christmas story. Why, because they have not heard it.
This is why I’ve dedicated my life’s energy to reaching those unreached tribes, villages, and places where the Jesus story falls on ears that have never heard it.
In this past year of 2013, Barry Wood Ministries will have told the Christmas Story (the Gospel) to over one million of the ethnos.
Villages that had no church, now have one. Children are singing “Joy to the world” in their tongue for the first time. That makes for a merry Christmas in my house. This next year – pledge to God you will partner with Him to reach the nations so the whole world will one day shout, “Joy came to my world, because Jesus came to me.”
May you have a Christ-filled Christmas!