Christmas Lights on a Tree Fit for a King?

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If the world was a Christmas tree and God’s followers were the lights, what would that tree look like? Would the tree as a whole be as bright as we hope it would as we end 2014? Where would the tree be much brighter than it used to be? Where would the tree still be darkest? What ought we do to get the tree looking better before the Christmas baby returns as the Christmas King? Explore these questions in this Christmas Missiographic.





 

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Personal Reflection

Does your family put up a Christmas tree? If so, think about the last thing you do as you decorate it—you step back and check whether everything is evenly spaced to look beautiful.

 

If our world were a Christmas tree and the lights were the glow of Christian witness, those lights would not be evenly distributed around the world at all. You would not want the lights on your family Christmas tree to be out of proportion like that. You would adjust some things.

 

As a family, look at the ten regions (branches) of this special Christmas tree that represents the light in the world. Praise God that what used to be called the "Dark Continent" is now the brightest branch on the tree! Pray for the regions that are still under-lit, especially South Asia (India, Pakistan, and neighbors). Ask God how he would have you and your family respond to the great need around the world through prayer, giving and going.

Engaging the Church

So many times Christmas can seem like one more tradition and routine at Church. This year, why don’t you consider shaking things up a bit! Use this Missiographic and the idea of an unevenly lit tree to present the global need for Christ to your congregation

 

Put this graphic up during a service and pray that the Light of the World will be known in every corner of his creation.

Call attention to any missionaries or projects your church supports in regions that are darkest on the tree. Make the Christmas season a time of special prayer for them.

 

Call attention to surprising things that jump out from the graphic. For example:

  • The U.S. is not #1 on the "Bright" list; it is #14.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is better lit than North & Central America.
  • The brightest country, Kenya, has a "gospel wattage" that is 3850 times greater than the darkest country, Western Sahara.
  • South Asia (India and neighbors) has less than half the light per person of any other region.

Encourage families to look at the tree on-line together and to forward it to their friends as one way to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas. (See "Personal Reflection" suggestions above.)


Organizational Application

If you are working in any of the less lit areas of the world, use this tree to call special attention to the importance of your work. For example, South Asia has only half the light of any other region. Europe has less than half the light of North America and less than ¼ the light of Kenya!

 

If you have concerns about the accuracy of the "wattage" formula that you want to check out and/or discuss before using the Missiographic with your supporters, join the discussion at www.gmi.org/wattageformula.  Stan Nussbaum, the formula designer, is moderating that. Our aim is to refine the formula with help from our friends, not defend the current formula as a final or best way to interpret the data.

 

If you work in several global regions, for next Christmas you could consider creating your own tree based on our branch sizes. Use the lights to represent the extent of your organization’s involvement in the regions instead of the total "gospel wattage" as we have. Decorate the regional branches with the names of countries where your organization works and/or the kind of work you are doing in a region.



Good information is key for any individual or ministry. For more insights look at missiographics.com.

Sources
"Gospel Wattage" Formula Discussion & "Wattage" Around the World Table located at http://www.gmi.org/wattageformula


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