Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Christmas story did not happen in English

Has it ever occurred to you that the Christmas story did not happen in English?

The next time you hear the Christmas story—at church, in a song, on a Christmas card—pause and consider this:

The angel Gabriel did not speak in English when he said to Mary, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! That Lord is with you.… You will be with child and give birth to a son.…”

The angel of the Lord did not speak in English when he said to the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”

The great company of the heavenly hosts did not speak in English when they praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

No, those messages were not in English.

What does that mean to you and to me?

It means someone translated the story—and the whole Bible—into our own language so we can understand it in our hearts, at the core of our beings.

But what if no one had done that for us? What if our only Bible was in a foreign language?

Have you ever tried to read Scriptures in a foreign language?

Or listen to a sermon in a foreign language?

Or pray in a foreign language?

Even if it’s a language you’ve studied, the deeper meanings and truths don’t come through.

My experience is that there’s always a distraction, a jumble of words and thoughts as I take in what I hear and then scurry to translate it into my own heart language. There’s an annoying gap between the words and my mind, and between my mind and my heart.

Listen: This Christmas season, around the world millions will not hear the Christmas story in the language they understand best.

Today millions of people don’t have Scriptures in their own language.

1576 languages (entire language groups) have no known Scripture. That’s 98 million people!

The good news is that of 6,918 languages currently in use in the world today, Scriptures have been translated in over 2,800 of those languages.

According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, at least 4.9 billion people have a Bible available in their first language—their heart language, the language they understand best.

But 98 million people have yet to hear the Christmas story in their own language!

That’s why Dave and I moved to Africa, and why we still support Bible translation today.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Linda, just stopping by to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. May God continue to bless and keep you in 2014. Hugs. xx Joyful