The Christmas music blares through the speakers. The fans are decked out in Santa Clause hats or Rudolph antlers. The joy for the holiday permeates the arena as I take the floor to warm up before the game.
Christmas lights cover the trees outside, and the gym lights flash green and red throughout the player introductions. Japanese Santa and Mrs. Clause stand in the upper deck doing a strange dance to the pre-game music. The Christmas spirit is alive and well across the globe, even in Japan.
Waiting patiently for my name to be called over the loud speakers, I glance around the arena and begin to think how this universal holiday affects people all over the world. All this celebration, and yet many people don’t even realize what (or should I say whom) they are celebrating.
Whether people know it or not, the Christmas holiday is all about light. Actually, it is about the Light: Jesus. Jesus is the Light of the world and is the real reason for this special season.
No matter where you turn, the symbol of light surrounds us. Colorful Christmas lights cover cities across the world. Songs of “Silent Night” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” play on our radios and iPhones with lyrics of “Son of God, / love’s pure light / Radiant beams from Thy holy face, / with the dawn of redeeming grace” and “Hail the Son of righteousness! / Light and life to all He brings, / risen with healing in His wings.” Christmas candles are lit in every home beside our brightly-lit Christmas trees. Even the stars above seem to shine a little brighter as they reflect off the pure white winter snow.
We who are Christians celebrate because we have something to be joyous about. On Christmas day, a Light was born so that we never have to walk in darkness again –an eternal light.
John 1: 1-14 explains … In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God … All things were made by him (Jesus); and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him (Jesus) was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not . . . And the Word was made flesh (Jesus incarnate), and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 3:16 says it plainly … For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
…and that, my friends, is what should be your reason to get you into the Christmas spirit! Everyone knows you can not have life without light, and in the same way, the Light who was born on Christmas Day is the same Light that gives me life, not just for today but for eternity.
Christmas is one of the best times of the year if you know Jesus Christ -even if you are all alone in a foreign country. No matter how cold and dark your world may seem, it can always be brought back with the glorious Light. If you do not know Jesus, the Light of the world, I pray that you would meet Him this Christmas. He will give you new life and something to celebrate. After all, CHRISTmas is all about Him.
“Daaruuee Barrhuuum four tree” finally announces over the loud speakers, and I jog out on to the gym floor and bow.
The Christmas music picks right up where it left off, and the holiday buzz continues. A smile spreads across my face as the music, lights, and joyous cheer makes me feel like busting out in some dance moves.
Since I am away from my friends and family this year, I came up with the idea of getting to know my teammates a little better by filming and producing a little Christmas video for the people (fans) of Japan we see on a weekly basis. Hopefully this can add a little Christmas cheer into your life as well!
Don’t forget to SMILE – it’s universal! And Merry Christmas!