by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
God’s Arch Enemy has always been out to get our kids. In a move reminiscent of Pharaoh’s designs to curb population growth, Herod ordered the murder of little boys, two and younger, in Bethlehem. (Matt. 2:16) Rarely do we incorporate this into our Christmas pageants – or picture it on our greeting cards.
Here’s a contemporary example of how saturated our culture is with Satan’s intentions. I entered a well-crafted story, just under 500 words, in a writer’s competition. Had I known that more than 500 others were doing the same, I might have skipped this exercise. Little chance would a story containing the word, Jesus, have to rise to the surface of the pile that was being judged.
And sure enough – it didn’t. My point, however, comes from the topics of the five winners for this holiday-themed, story competition. Fifth place went to a lengthy, rhymed poem about two skeletons on the ‘Day of the Dead.’ The other four winners? A Valentine’s Day lesson on friendship. A letter to Santa about being on his ‘naughty’ list. Groundhog learns how to be unafraid of his shadow. First place went to a culturally laden story of two boys observing Ramadan.
Would you agree? If this is a tiny sampling of what current, children’s literature publishers value, then our kids will get an abundance of appealing, entertaining books and magazine stories that present a wholly non-Christian point of view. Nothing sinister about this except that it presents to children’s developing minds the subtle message that Jesus is irrelevant.
Travel half way around the world and you’ll find an entirely different scenario. In many countries, repressive regimes forbid parents to ‘indoctrinate’ their children with the Bible’s message of hope. Here the Bible is incredibly valuable because owning a copy of it is so rare. What hope do children have of hearing about Jesus before they reach adulthood, if even then?
Here’s the good news. Valiant organizations work tirelessly to print God’s Word in local languages and in relatively local sites to be distributed by bands of local believers at great risk, but with great results. One example of this came in my mail, in a small magazine called Asia Harvest. Let me share a bit of it here.
In one Asian country (unnamed for security purposes) 30,000 Children’s Bible Story books were printed and distributed a few years ago across a wide geographical area. The church leaders who oversaw this are humble believers who avoid exaggeration, so they set up a database to track the numbers of solid decisions for the Lord that came from the project.
After months of research they reported that “more than 10,000 came to faith in Jesus,” and were being discipled by local believers! We were overjoyed to hear this news, and rejoiced to think that 10,000 children were now following the Lord who otherwise might have grown up without ever knowing His Name. “Oh, no, you misunderstood!” our co-workers replied. “We didn’t mean 10,000 children. Our research has found that more than 10,000 families are currently being discipled!”
As we strengthen our resolve to protect our kids and give them the truth, by example and by word, that Jesus is indeed alive today, let us also pray for and give to those in other places who do this at great risk.
Jesus is the light who reveals God to the nations…from Luke 2:32