Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman′u-el. (Isaiah 7:14)For to us a child is born!
to us a son is given!
and the government will be upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called
“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Christmas is upon us again and it is a time to reflect on the miracle of the birth of Christ. A miracle not just because it was a virgin birth but also because it speaks of God’s amazing love for fallen mankind. It is a miracle that God’s Son came into our world to live amongst us and to ultimately lay down his life for us.
But it does seem so unbelievable. Why would God do such a thing? It is not something that a self centered and selfish world can easily understand.
When I ponder about this, I am reminded of the true story of Don and Caroline Richardson. They were missionaries who, in 1962, went to live amongst the cannibalistic head-hunting Sawi peoples in remote Irian Jaya, Indonesia. They lived there learning the Sawi language and their customs, providing medical services and befriending them. They desired to share about Jesus and the good news of God but found it difficult in a culture that elevates warfare and treachery. For example, when they told the Sawi about Jesus being arrested and crucified after being betrayed by Judas, the Sawi clapped and cheered for Judas as he was seen to be cunning in his treachery.
How to make them understand why Jesus came and what he did? God would show the Richardsons the way.
The Sawi had a way of making peace and that involved the warriors of the two warring tribes lining up facing each other. In the ceremony witnessed by the Richardsons, the chief of one tribe then took his first born infant son from the baby’s distraught mother and walked down the line of his warriors. The warriors placed their hands on the child as he passed by.
The chief then handed his son to the chief of the opposing tribe who takes the child down his line of warriors. They to place their hands on the child in an act of affirmation and then the whole war party leaves with the child.
From that moment on, the child will live in the other tribes village and as long as he lives, there will be peace between the two villages. If he is harmed, the person who harmed him would be killed. It is the act of sacrifice by the first chief that secures the peace through his son, the Peace Child.
Don Richardon explains during an interview;
“When [my wife] Caroline and I lived among the Sawi and learned their language, we found that they honored treachery as a virtue. This came to light when I told them the story of Judas betraying Jesus to death after three years of friendship. They acclaimed Judas as the hero of the story. It seemed as if it would not be easy for such a people to understand God’s redemption in Jesus.
But lo and behold, their way of making peace required a father in one of two warring villages to make an incredible sacrifice. He had to be willing to give one of his own children as a peace child to his enemies.
Caroline and I saw this happen, and we saw the peace that resulted from a man’s wonderful sacrifice of his own son. That enabled me to proclaim Jesus as the greatest peace child given by the greatest father.”
So this Christmas, may we reflect on what it meant for God to send His son into the world and what it means to us all to receive the greatest Peace Child.
This world is so in need of peace. Peace with God and peace between men.