Robert & Roberta Adair


I started writing this (okay, voice dictating on my smartphone) on the 23rd after our church’s big Christmas outreach concert. It’s scattered as usual – even more so as deciphering what I said from electronic dictation is tricky…but here we go.

I’m walking home after our yearly Christmas concert. When I walked to the concert, I felt very empty but now I feel so full. I’m trying to think about why – probably because I love being on around big groups of people. But I think there are a few other things that were really special about tonight.



For starters, there were so many people at the concert that I care about. English students and their families (one of the few times we see dads), my gospel choir friends, a few ladies from the home party circle I sometimes go to, some beach friends, some grandmas and grandpas from temporary housing. Church people had specific roles, and it was neat to see so many people involved in making this thing work. There also seemed to be a slightly less sense of “us” and “them” as some people who are in process of joining our community but aren’t yet “family” helped out, too.


As I bounced an active Joseph in the baby room (I had it all to myself – the best seats in the whole place), I heard the song O Holy Night. This song is one of my favorites – so beautiful, so worshipful, so powerful. It touched parts of my heart in a way that I can’t explain. And as I listened to it (grateful to have the whole room to myself as I may or may not have been blubbering and singing and looking rather ridiculous), I looked out on the room with hundreds of people with just a few Christians scattered in the mix. I felt so desperate for people meet Jesus…to raise their hands with me singing:

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

Let all within us praise His holy name

(gah! Not to mention that awesome line, A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…)

[We had so many Christmas events in December – this isn’t post-Christian America or Europe. This is more or less gospel illiterate Japan. (We’ve written so much about this – but, no, Christmas isn’t Santa’s birthday, no, Jesus wasn’t born in the US…not to mention little to no knowledge of Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, wise men, Herod, etc.). The main hope at these events is that kids and adults realize that Christmas is to celebrate the arrival of Christ. It’s good – it’s basic – it’s laying a foundation with the hope of one day getting the chance to go deeper.]


Standing in the back of the hall, I again remembered: I want people to meet Jesus! (not just inform them of what the Christ in Christmas stands for.) I want to bring people to him!

Between events, I went in to a room where we kept our coats and such. A leader of our church was resting briefly – exhausted from such a busy schedule and with a bit of a cold. He was looking over this city – his city (the hall was on the 5th floor with a neat view of the port). He said it used to be a happening place with lots of stores, lots of things for people to do and see, lots of jobs. I imagine that even before the 3.11 disaster which messed with shops and businesses significantly, the economy was already struggling a bit. He said that now the main attraction of this city is a Shinto shrine. It’s where tour groups come, and souvenir shops and restaurants – arguably much of the city – hope to gain their income through this connection. The most famous thing in this city is a shrine, and he said – more to himself than to me – how great it would be if Jesus’s name became famous in this area.


I went to the concert with such a cynical heart. Gospel music, English, hula…the “big three” tools used by churches in Japan. I feel like it’s not creative, not Japanese, not original or cutting edge. These are what loads of churches across Japan use as hooks for building relationships blah blah. So attractional instead of missional. So “come to us to teach you something” instead of “can we join you and do something together.” (And I may or may not have strong opinions about hula outside of Hawaii or done by people not from Hawaii…:) And events. Gah, events instead of relationships.  So, yep, I went with a Bah Humbug kind of attitude.

Yet once again I was reminded that while I may occasionally think that the church is missing the point, perhaps I’m the one who is missing it.  I was also reminded that I don’t understand. I didn’t grow up here, I don’t know the economic challenges, I don’t know what this community used to be before the disaster or before the bubble burst.  This isn’t my hometown. I also didn’t grow up being in the less than 1%.  Seeing someone so burdened for his community – more than just wanting to pull off an event well – stirred something in me.

As we enter into a new year, may this year be one where my/our focus stays on Christ.  May my heart and life be worshipping Him.  May that be my first priority.  And may many of our friends have the opportunity to hear and respond to Christ, turning their hearts to Him.

Email Subscription

Get new posts sent to your email inbox!

Step 1: Enter your email address:

Step 2: Don't forget to click the "verify" link in the email message from Feedburner.

Contact Us...

PO Box 3307
Cerritos, CA 90703 USA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.