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This time of year is special in many countries. Soon it will be Christmas. Ruby Jones and Marina Santee look at some of the ways that Christians celebrate this month before Christmas.

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Voice 1

Hello, I’m Marina Santee.

Voice 2

And I’m Ruby Jones. Welcome to Spotlight. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

This time of year is special in many countries. Soon it will be Christmas. Christmas is the day when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but all kinds of people celebrate Christmas as a holiday. In today’s programme, we look back in history to a time before Jesus Christ was born. We think about the people who were waiting for someone to rescue them from their struggles. Their concerns were for the problems that were affecting them at that time. But the Christmas message goes beyond that. We consider how hope for a better future can help people in their present situation today - however difficult it is.

Voice 3

“A child is born to us. A son is given to us. God has given him the right to govern. People will call him a Wise Guide, powerful God, Father for ever, the Prince of Peace.”

Voice 2

These words are from an English translation of the Bible. In fact they are from the older part of the Bible. This part of the Bible is important for both Jews and Christians. The original words were written in the Hebrew language, more than 2,500 years ago! But they were talking about future events. The man who wrote them was a prophet, a messenger of God. His name was Isaiah. Isaiah lived in the land of Judah - part of modern day Israel and the West Bank. Judah was ruled by one king after another. Some were good kings, but most were bad. When Isaiah wrote his words, Judah was about to be attacked by its enemies. The people were afraid. And so God told Isaiah these words to speak to the people:

Voice 3

“A child is born to us. A son is given to us. God has placed the right to govern in his hands.”

Voice 1

Isaiah’s words helped many of the people at that time. The promise of someone who would govern a kingdom of justice and peace was like a light in their darkness. In time, a new king came to power In Judah. His name was Hezekiah. He trusted God, and saved his people from the attackers.

Voice 2

Jewish belief is that Isaiah’s words were only about the good king, Hezekiah. But some of the words seem to go beyond describing any normal king - words like mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace. Not even a king could live up to these words.

However, there is a second part to the Bible. This second part is part of the Christian Bible, but not the Jewish Bible. From this newer part of the Bible, Christians understand that Isaiah was talking about Jesus. We need to remember that Jesus was not born until seven hundred years after Isaiah. Christians believe that God gave these words to describe the birth and power of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not a normal ruler. He did not have a kingdom on earth. But Christians believe that Jesus is alive today in heaven. They believe he rules God’s kingdom - and he rules in their hearts. And they believe that Jesus will come again to earth, and he will be seen to rule over everything.

Voice 1

Christians remember the period of waiting before Jesus arrived, 2,000 years ago. They call it, ‘Advent’ - looking forward to the arrival of someone that people have long been hoping for. So, Advent also marks the Christian hope that Jesus Christ will come again.

Voice 2

All this raises questions. How does anyone know that Jesus is ruling in their hearts? How does it show in the lives of normal Christians in the twenty first century? Most Christians would say that their problems do not go away - but they say they can live with their difficulties, and still have inner joy and peace. They say they do not lose hope. Here is one example of this:

For the people of Zimbabwe, trusting God is the main thing that helps them survive. This southern African country has experienced severe economic problems. Local people lack necessary things such as clean water and bread. Yet in the middle of this difficult situation, some Zimbabwe Christians can still speak of their faith in God.

Voice 1

Joseph drank some water from a pipe, but he did not know that the pipe was broken, and the water was dirty. Since that time, he has suffered constantly from stomach problems. He talks honestly about his situation:

Voice 4

“What is my hope? That is a difficult question. I would say that God has got the answer to this situation. I know someone out there can help me. Someone can understand the problems I and my family face. Someone can give me some food, some clothes, some financial help. I think prayer can be an answer to all these questions. I would say so, because I believe in God.”

Voice 1

Mannymore agrees with these words. He is a church leader in the town where Joseph lives. He says:

Voice 5

“We have tried to solve the problems ourselves. We have tried politics. It does not work. The only one who can help us is Jesus Christ. Often there seem to be no choices. But at those times he provides us with something to eat and something to drink.”

Voice 2

Joseph and Mannymore face huge problems. But they are waiting and living in hope of a better world - just like the people of Judah long ago. It is a time of advent for them.

Christians traditionally remember Advent on the four weeks before December the 25th - Christmas Day. On each of the four Sundays in advent, there is a small ceremony. In the ceremony, someone lights a candle. They remember the people years ago, waiting for Jesus to come. And they remember people today who are waiting for him to come again. A fifth, gold candle is kept for Christmas Day. It represents Jesus, the light of hope shining in a dark world.

Voice 1

For many Christians, Advent is a time to stop and think. It is a time of quiet before the busyness of Christmas celebrations. It is a time to remember the birth of Jesus. And it is a time to look forward to a better world. They may pray a prayer, such as this:

Voice 3

“Come, Lord Jesus - do not delay. Give new courage to your people who trust in your love. Amen.”

Voice 1

The writers of today’s programme were Ruby Jones and Mike Procter. The producer was Ruby Jones. The voices you heard were from South Africa, Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this programme. This programme is called, “Advent.”

Voice 2

Thank you for joining us today. Goodbye.

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Christians in many countries will celebrate Christmas this month. Do you celebrate Christmas? Are there Christmas decorations where you live? What kind of things do you see?


Mike Procter's avatar
Mike Procter
said on December 15, 2008

This programme was in the top six for a special award called the ‘Jerusalem Award’ for best UK-produced Christmas radio programme 2007.

Avatar Spotlight
said on December 18, 2012

Thank you for this marvellous program

humble71's avatar
said on December 19, 2012

Advent is an espiritual time for Christians , the most important I think about the hope for a future and the courage to live in this darkness time . Thanks Spotlight family for letting me to know about advent . I would like to live this previous celebration of Christmas.

Merry Christmas Spotlight family and all the listeners all over the world.

Augusto Lenin

Avatar Spotlight
said on December 19, 2013

We are in days of advent preparing for christmas. We expect to receive many favours of christmas season, especially on christmas day. Jesus Christ came to earth two thousand years ago. He came to give us salvation. He overcame the world. We believe that Jesus Christ is alive. He is the king of universe. He will come again. He will judge each of us on day we die. We believe in God. We choose to follow Jesus Christ. We choose to follow Jesus Christ in any life conditions.

Avatar Spotlight
said on December 20, 2013

thank you spolight, God bless you

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Javier López
said on December 19, 2014

We believe that Jesus Christ is alive.

Avatar Spotlight
said on December 20, 2014

Christians keep the belief in Jesus in their hearts constantly, they believe Jesus Christ will come again to redeem all people and rule over everything. Advent represents the Christian hope for the better future that helps people in their present situation. Advent should be a time of thinking, remembering, meditation and mainly the peace, a prayer. On Christmas Day, traditional sequent lightening candles on Advent’s garland finishes to light a final gold candle, the symbol of Jesus as the clear light of hope shining in the darkness.
Thanks for great article!

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Mr.Chaos of troubles
said on December 14, 2015

thanks spotlight!

Avatar Spotlight
said on December 14, 2015

Thanks for letting me to know about this special time of the year and to have conciusness about advent. I didn’t know the prophet Isaiah 700 years before Jesus Christ birth was announcing and looking forward to a rescuer , redeemer, a savior for suffered people so I know now the meaning of the five candles. More than a commercial time that we are living right now before the holy night, we need to share love , compassion and mercy with people in necessity.  About the questions answers are ... Yes, I do .I celebrate Christmas with a special meal at midnight with a prayer and thanksgiving to God for giving us the light of hope, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Well…the second question is about decorations where I live… answer is…In my workplace and in my house where I live with my mother is very common to decorate with the birthplace , the tree, lights, sheperds , angels and sheeps. Also in the big cities there are huge trees in the main public parks and in the entrance of huge shopping centers.
Thanks Spotlight family , Merry Christmas to all of you and have a good advent time join to your family members and real friends.


Augusto Lenin

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on December 19, 2016

I’m Christian but I’m not interested in Christmas because that not belong to my faith and my culture
God bless you

Avatar Spotlight
said on December 21, 2016

Thanks to all of for your precious efforts , thank you Maria Santee for marvellous and angelic voice!

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on January 25, 2017

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ( Severino Ramos )
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Wednesday 25, January 2017
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Marina Santee, Roby Jones, and Mike Procter:

At first, I want to thank you for bringing us readers and learners of English more one great article, thanks!
Yes, I do. I celebrate Christmas.
Yes, there are many Christmas decorations in my Country Brazil.
Here, in Brazil at Christmas season we decorate our houses or apartments with Christmas trees, many bright colorour lights, Santa Claus, and etc. That decoration we start to make at the beginning of December. Also, we buy many delicious season Christmas foods.

God Bless you
Severino Ramos

Avatar Spotlight
said on December 10, 2018

I live in Brazil, the greater christian country in world, so this is a time of a lot of Christmas decorations. There are a dispute between cities, neighborhoods and until streets for determine which made the better Christmas decorations.
I don’t like the extreme business exploration of Christmas time. But I celebrate the date in family, whit good meals and gifts for children.
By the way, Merry Christmas for all of which participate the spotlhightradio programmes, Thank you very much.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on December 15, 2018

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: to answer the questions below
Date: Saturday 15, December 2018
São Paulo city - São Paulo Brazil

Dear Marina Santee, Ruby Jones, and Miker Procter:

First, I want to thank you for bringing us that important article again, thank you.
Question 1 - Do you celebrate Christmas? Yes, I do.
Question 2 - Are there Christmas decorations where you live? Yes, there are many kind of Christmas decorations.
Question 3 - What kind of things do you see? I see many Christmas trees, many bright colorour lights, Santa Claus, and much more.
Finally, I want to wish you a happy Christmas season and a wonderful new year. Thank you very much.
Your regards,
Severino Ramos
From Brazil.

Avatar Spotlight
said on December 09, 2019

Merry Christmas for all and thank you so much…