Happy New Year! In the Christian calendar the beginning of the Christian year starts with Advent. So, we begin by waiting in a reflective and welcoming space for the arrival of Christ and a transformed life in him. Jesus came to earth as a child; he will return as our king. In between, Immanuel promises to be “with us always, to the very end of the age.”
The year 2020 has been lamentable on many levels. So many have experienced and borne the burden and pain of others, beginning in our own families. Almost everyone has faced major life detours.
Every year at this time, and especially this year, we turn ourselves toward God. As Ruth Haley Barton says, “We wait with and for God in the dark places of our lives, communities, and world.”1 Indeed, we wait on the Light of the World to bring his light to the dark places.
The Scriptures of Advent reveal our deep longing, thirst, and need for Jesus to come, atone, redeem, transform, and renew. Two such texts are speaking deeply into my heart this season.
In 2 Peter 3: 8-15 the Apostle Peter gives us insight into the staying power and patience of our Lord. In verse 9 Peter reminds us:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
No one waits with more at stake than God. While “today is the day of salvation,” his waiting is redemptive. The day of the Lord is coming, but now he is drawing people to himself in the midst of a global pandemic and changing world structures in ways requiring us to face our mortality and ultimate need of him.
Peter calls us to “bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation” (2 Peter 3:15b), and so we trust him in this hour of loss, discord, sickness, and even death, that he is bringing healing to the nations, whether we can always see it or not.
Three times in Psalm 80 (verses 3,7, and 19) and with growing intensity, the Psalmist writes and sings, “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.”
In her wonderful Advent podcast, Ruth Haley Barton encourages us to make the psalmist’s prayer our own breath prayer to God throughout this season. As we wait, we turn ourselves toward him with our heads up, asking him to be present to us, that our lives will be a reflection of his face shining on us.
Verses 17-18 of Psalm 80 introduce the Messiah, who is God’s right-hand man, “the son of man you have raised up for yourself,” who will bring about God’s mighty restoration and revival.
Asaph uses the plural pronouns “us” and “we” throughout this psalm which is a great reminder that we are not alone. We are in this together.
Before heading into 2021, I want to heartily thank the “us” and “we” of ChinaSource, who have a heart and passion to serve the church of Jesus Christ in China and the Chinese diaspora, in unity with the body of Christ globally.
Thank you to the amazing network of churches, organizations, readers, subscribers, contributors, editors, translators, associates, prayer and financial partners. Thanks also to the ChinaSource board of directors and staff for the joy and privilege of bearing one another’s burdens and serving the Master together!
May we together know the presence and rich grace of Immanuel in 2021.
Ways to Pray
- Despite the turmoil and volatility that has often characterized 2020, join us in praising the Good Shepherd for protecting, guiding, and informing the ministry of ChinaSource throughout the year.
- Pray for the ChinaSource team and board of directors as we continue to seek the Lord’s direction and guidance in 2021.
- Pray that our Father will continue to position ChinaSource to serve the church in China, as well as facilitate the sacred unity of the body of Christ within the mainland and global churches as they learn, grow, and serve together.
- Pray the Lord will provide the resources needed to follow his will for ChinaSource in 2021.
News and Notes
ChinaSource Quarterly, 2020 Winter Issue
Chinese American Christianity in History and Today, guest editors, Sam George and Andrew Lee.
In this issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly, the editors focus on diaspora missions among the Chinese in the United States including a closer look at Chicago, the third largest city in America. The term “diaspora” has gained popularity and is widely used nowadays to refer to all types of migrants, voluntary and involuntary, as well as their subsequent generations who live in places far away from their ancestral homeland.
Also included are a series of enlightening articles tracing the origin and history of the Chinese church in the United States. There is also an account of a recently completed research study analyzing Chinese Chicagoland churches and communities, as well as a number of other articles, which we trust you will find equally fascinating.
To read this compelling issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly, go to “Chinese American Christianity in History and Today.”
ChinaSource Matching Grant
We are pleased that a dear friend of ChinaSource has put forward a matching challenge to match dollar for dollar gifts given through the end of December 31, 2020.
Give today and your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- Helping Chinese Families Prepare for Birth, ChinaSource Blog, December 16.
- Hope in the Sunset Years, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), December 15.
- Gaining Perspective on the Chinese American Christian Diaspora, ChinaSource Blog, December 14.
- A Calendar to Help You Pray for China, ChinaSource Blog, December 11.
- Training Cross-Cultural Workers to Cross Honor-Shame Cultures, ChinaSource Blog, December 09.
- Ministering to Those Considering Abortion, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), December 08.
- 76 Days: A Film Review, ChinaSource Blog, December 07.
- Religious Activities by Foreigners: Draft Regulations, ChinaSource Blog, December 04.
- A Chinese Church in Maryland Serving around the World, ChinaSource Blog, December 02.
- Giving Thanks in a Shaanxi Church, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), December 01.
- The Never Ending March: A Book Review, ChinaSource Blog, November 30.
- Seeing Things Differently, ChinaSource Blog, November 27.
- Celebrating a Different Thanksgiving, ChinaSource Blog, November 25.
- As Churches Reopen in China (2), ChinaSource Blog (CCV), November 24.
- An Unchanged Endeavor in Changing Times, ChinaSource Blog, November 23.
- Long Peace Street: A Book Review, ChinaSource Blog, November 20.
- From Ruth Haley Barton’s podcast, “Living between Two Worlds,”
Image credit: Safia Osman via Flickr.
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