And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby… the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Luke 2:8, 10 (NIV)
Roars of laughter rang from our living room! New words were being learned and people were being blessed. The Cree in my wife, Linda, was pouring out, and my non-native son-in-laws were soaking up her lessons. I, too, have been trying to learn my wife’s native language, but it has been a real challenge. Yet, it has always blessed her and her tribe when others have learned or even attempted to learn their native tongue. It was beautiful to see the joy all around that afternoon, and it has inspired me to keep learning Cree.
I will never forget the time my wife and I walked into a church in the isolated First Nations community of Bearskin Lake, Ontario. Our children were young, and we were attending to them as we took our seats in the church. The service had already started, and Linda recalls how she was enjoying the message in her own language. The Gospel was so clear, and it was touching her heart. She had not looked up to see who was speaking in such a meaningful way and in such clear and articulate Cree. When our children had settled in, she finally looked up and almost gasped to see a non-native man speaking her Native language. She had thought all along that it was a Cree man who was speaking of God’s love.
It is so important to hear the truth of God’s love in our own heart language. This is so true with native tribes in North America. I wonder what it was like for the shepherds to hear the angel tell them about Jesus in their own language and not some foreign tongue?
Jesus comes to us, and came that first Christmas night, in a way that we all can understand no matter what tribe we are from. And the truth of the Gospel is never more beautiful than when we hear the story in the language we understand. It is my desire this Advent season to meditate on the wonder of how God incarnated Himself into our world in a way we can understand. May it inspire us all to see how much love God has for us and communicate this truth and love to everyone.
Dear Lord, Thank you so much for revealing Your love for us, and Your plan for us, in a way that we can understand no matter what tribe and people group we are from. Your ways are so amazing, as is the Christmas story every time we hear it, especially in our own language, Amen.