Missionary advocate, Oswald J. Smith (1889 – 1986), observed, “We talk of Christ’s second coming when half of the world has never heard of the first.” Since Smith’s time, we’ve made progress in spreading the Glad Tidings of Christmas Joy. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, 29.2% of the world is now unevangelized (1). Also the distribution of Christians around the world has shifted dramatically since Smith’s day. This missiographic from GMI illustrates the distribution of Christians and also shows how the joyous message of Christmas is spreading (2).
Does anything here surprise you?
The “brightest” country is Kenya, having 385 watts. The United States is in 14th place with 208 watts. Did you see that sub-Saharan Africa is “brighter” than North and Central America? Southern Asia, on the other hand, (India and the surrounding countries) have less than half the light of any other region of the world. The darkest countries tend to be in Northern Africa and Central Asia. These are the areas where it is most necessary to spread the message of Christmas joy.
Smith’s point is still thought provoking. It is right for us to look for Jesus’ second coming, when so many have never heard of his first? Jesus himself spoke to this point. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14 ESV). Until all the peoples in the world hear the Christmas message, Jesus will not come again. What, then, are you doing to spread the message of Christmas joy around the world?
If you feel led to pray for these “dark” countries, you might find the prayer guide that I wrote for the Turkic Window useful, which begins with Who are the Turkic Peoples and Why Pray for Them?
- International Bulletin of Missionary Research January 2014 “Christianity 2014: Independent Christianity and Slum Dwellers” accessed 12/22/2014
- “Christmas Lights” missiongraphic by Global Mapping Internaitonal (GMI) assessed 12/22/2104.