Christmas has always been for the nations in God’s mind. Isaiah foretold of the Messiah that would bring justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1). Abraham was promised that “In you shall all the nations be blessed” (Galatians 3:8). Simeon, who blessed the baby Jesus at the temple, recognized that Jesus’ salvation would be for all peoples (Luke 2:31). John the Baptist prepared the way for the Messiah by declaring that Jesus was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Everyone and every people group is included in this plan of God. This makes it truly good news!

I am glad that, here at Grace, we have been generous in sharing this good news with many from around the world so they can hear and see the story of the Messiah, who was sent into the world for them. On the first night of our Living Christmas Trees concerts this year, there were about 700 international students who came to hear the story of Christmas. Many were impressed with the songs, animals, dancers, and actors who portrayed the life of Jesus. Some had never known the details of the story, so their comments were touching as they saw where and how Jesus was born and how His earthly life ended. One student pondered the story of Jesus and asked, “why did He have to die?”

That is the question we should all ask as we relate the story of Jesus to our lives. He died a death we deserved to give us forgiveness from our sin, which we don’t deserve. I am hopeful that this message was discussed and made clear as the visitors reflected on what they saw.

Would you take a moment right now and pray for those from around the world who heard the message of the Gospel? Would you pray for those who have heard and seen the story of Jesus portrayed at the Living Christmas Trees concert would continue to ponder the question, “why did He have to die?” Finally, would you ask on behalf of their eternity that someone who already knows Jesus would help them answer that question? I invite you to pray that this great message will be believed by those who came from around the world so that Christmas can come to the nations!

Dan Green and Nancy moved back to the US after missionary service in Brazil with Encompass World Partners for 15 years. They were involved in evangelism, church planting, and leadership training. Dan grew up on a farm in Indiana, while Nancy comes from northeast Ohio. Dan studied at Purdue University (Agronomy), OSU (Soil Chemistry), and Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions. They have four children and six grandchildren. Dan enjoys gardening, camping, and international travel.