A Christmas message from Pam Boothman of Serving in Mission UK based in Ghana
You stepped down into darkness,
Opened my eyes, let me see,
Beauty that made this heart adore You,
Hope of a life spent with You
And here I am to worship,
here I am to bow down, Here I am to say You’re my God,
You’re altogether lovely, Altogether worthy, Altogether wonderful to me.
Songwriter Tim Hughes
Dear, Friends, Family and Supporters,
This is a song I have found myself singing to my- self over the last few weeks, as for many, the days are darkening and getting colder, and lock- downs have been put in place for friends in UK and many other countries.
In the darker days of winter in the northern part of the northern hemisphere, we become very conscious of light, or lack of it. Here in Ghana, just north of the equator, the daylength hardly varies, but with little outside lighting, most out- door tasks need to be finished within the 12 hours of daylight that we have.
When Yvonne and I travel, we always aim to ar- rive home well before dusk, so we don’t arrive in the dark.
Recently some of our Ghanaian friends from the church became aware of just how dark our com- pound and the surrounding area was compared to other parts of Sandema. They helped us to obtain two free streetlights from the District Assembly who were encouraging people to light up the darker corners of Sandema.
With the aid of a couple of local electricians, we were able to help some of our neighbours, as well as ourselves, see more clearly in the dark.
For many, this year seems particularly dark with the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, but ‘Light in a dark world’, has become a theme as we move towards Christmas. John, in the opening verses of his gospel, describes Jesus as, the ‘true light of the world, that gives light to everyone.’ John1:9.
The nature of light started a fascinating con- versation with Rose, my language teacher, about words for light used in Buli. I was trying to read and learn John 3:16-17, and she en- couraged me to read on for a few more vers- es, correcting my pronunciation as we went. In John 3:19 the ‘light’ that came into the world is capitalized, Bolimu and from the context clear- ly means Jesus, ‘the light of the world.’
That is same Buli word used for our new streetlights!
Rose helped with the translation of the Buli Bible and she told me that bolimu’s usual meaning is more fire than light. When we looked at Genesis 1:3 where the first thing God creates is light. The Buli reads ‘Ate Wen yaa weeni ayen, ‘Ku be nyaski a nya,’ ate ku yaa a nya. There is no word for light at all! Rose explained that the Bulisa do not actually have a word for light. So, Genesis 1:3 was translated, ‘God said, ‘let everything be opened up to shine, and it was seen.’ Nya is the verb to see.
What a lovely picture of God’s newly created shiny world being opened up to be seen for the very first time. Of course, God’s world did not stay bright and shiny. Humans chose their own way over God’s way, the perfect world was spoilt, and death became a reality for all humankind. The world needed a Saviour to redeem it.
His coming was foretold many years before He came. His name was already known, Immanuel, God with us. (Isaiah 7:14, Matt 1:23). He came at Christmas as a small baby. His birth was announced by an angel to shepherds, keeping night-guard over sheep in the dark fields of Bethlehem. God’s glory shone around them, and a choir of angels sang giving glory to God and singing of peace on earth to those upon whom God’s favour rests.
Later an unusually bright, shining star would lead a group of astronomers from the east to that same town to pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews. It was the same child, who we know as Jesus, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. He died on the cross of Calvary in our place, and was raised to life again on Easter day.
I pray that you all have a happy, peaceful, light-filled Christmas, as you worship the Christ-Child, born on that dark night so may years ago, yet now living and reigning with His Father in Heaven.
With love in Him
Give thanks for continued good health and life in a community that has re- mained Covid-19 free.
Give thanks for church leaders who are interested in learning more about having Malachi Clubs in their churches
Pray for suitable Club Directors to be identified and trained.
Pray for Pastor Nicholas and I as we work to bring the training team from Global Children’s Network–Ghana to Sandema in the New Year.
A PDF version of Pam’s newsletter is available here: Pam’s Pages 19