Jason French - Cherokee - A Storyteller Christmas Special
Osiyo! My name is Jason French, and I’m from the Cherokee tribe in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I’m here today to tell you the greatest story that I’ve ever heard.
You may have heard it called ‘The Story of Christmas’, but today I would like you to hear it as ‘The Story of the Christ’, the special one, the anointed one.
When I was growing up, I liked Christmas because it usually meant I got some really neat toys from my parents, but as I got older I learned there was a much greater gift than toys being offered to me.
I learned about this story from my mom and dad, and they learned about it from a book, but this wasn’t just any old book, this was a special book, a Holy book, a special gift that had come from the Creator Himself, called the Bible.
When I was little, I didn’t think too much about where I came from but as I got older I had questions about life, questions about death, all kinds of questions, and my mom and dad would teach me from this book, and I learned that this book was the key to understanding where I came from and why I was here.
The Bible told me that the Creator God was already here in the beginning; even before there was a beginning, the Creator was already there. He had always been there and He would always be there. He was forever.
I even learned that one of His names is Yahweh, which means The One Who Is, The One Who Exists.
(Song:) Yahweh, Yahweh, You are God, Yahweh, Yahweh, Yahweh…
This Creator made the sun, made the moon and the stars, He made the earth and the oceans, the rivers and trees and plants. He made all the animals in the land, all the fish in the ocean, all the birds in the sky.
And the Bible says that He made the first man and the first woman. The man’s name was Adam, and he was made out of the dust of the ground, and the Creator breathed the breath of life into him and he came alive. And the woman’s name was Isha or Eve, and was made from a rib from the side of the man and they lived together in the beautiful garden called Eden.
The Creator had given them all the trees of the garden to eat from, but there was one special tree they were not supposed to eat from, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told the man that if he ate of it, he would surely die. But there was also a snake in the garden, who came and lied to the woman, and said, “You will not die.” And he tempted her to do what the Creator told them not to do, and because the woman wanted to be wise in her own eyes and because she saw that the fruit was good to eat and looked good, she took the fruit.
She wanted to be like the Creator, and she disobeyed the Creator’s command and took the fruit and ate of it, and gave some to her husband, Adam, too. Immediately they knew that the Creator’s words were true and that they had done something that they shouldn’t have done, but it was too late.
Adam and Eve were ashamed at what they had done and they tried to hide from the Creator, but no one can hide from the Creator. He always knew where they were, and the Creator came to talk to them.
He said to the man, “Adam where are you?” And Adam came, but he was afraid. The Creator asked him if he had eaten from the forbidden tree, and Adam blamed the woman for giving him the fruit.
The Creator then asked the woman what she had done, and she blamed the snake for tempting her, so the Creator cursed the snake, and because of this the snake crawls around on its belly and eats dust for all of its days.
The woman was also made to have great pain in childbirth, and the man would work hard for his food instead of having the garden trees as the Creator’s gifts.
But worst of all, the man and woman were no longer allowed to live in the Creator’s presence. So they were sent to the East, out, away from the garden and away from the Creator’s presence, but the Creator had a purpose in sending them away because there was another tree called the tree of life, and if they would have eaten from that tree, they would have lived forever in their shame and disobedience to the Creator.
Before they were sent away, the Creator covered them with animal skins and made a promise to them that one day the offspring of the woman would crush the head of the serpent once and for all for what he had done.
What an amazing story I heard, and what a wonderful gift to know that this was the one who made me, to know that I wasn’t an accident, to know that there was a reason that I was made. This gave my life meaning and purpose. This answered so many questions for me. I was so glad that I didn’t have to wonder anymore where I came from; I knew that I had a creator.
As I got older, I noticed some things that started to bother me. Just like the first man and woman, I would do things that would get me in trouble and that would make me feel ashamed. Sometimes I wouldn’t listen to my mom or dad, and I would do things that they told me not to do, and they would be upset with me.
I didn’t like when they were upset with me, but there were even times I would do things that no one else would see, and yet I knew that I shouldn’t do these things, and on the inside these things would bother me. I would be ashamed at what I said or done, and even though I would try not to think about it or ignore it, I would still feel bad on the inside.
This is what the Bible calls sin; just like the first man or woman disobeyed, I did, too, and it seemed like no matter how hard I tried to be good, I couldn’t do it. Even if I was what I thought was good for a little while, it wasn’t very long before I was in trouble again.
One time, when I was little, I asked my mom and dad what would happen to me if I died. They told me the story of how Jesus came to the earth, and like I said before, for a while I thought Christmas was about getting toys and stuff, but the real gift of Christmas was a person.
The Bible says that Jesus (Yeshua is His Hebrew name) is the one the Creator promised to crush the evil of the serpent in the garden. Yeshua means ‘Yahweh Saves’.
Jesus was the Creator in human form, He was God’s own Son, and He came from the heavens down to the earth to be a light for all the nations of the earth, a light that would show us a way to God our Creator. This is how the Bible tells the story:
Reading from the Gospel of Matthew in the English Standard Version:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.
When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit, and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Yeshua, Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but he knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus, Yeshua, ‘Yahweh Saves’.
Jesus came to save His people from their sins, He came to be the light that would show all the nations the way back to God. But how would He do this, how would Jesus save His people from their sins and bring them back to their Creator? Jesus had to live a perfect life and then die in their place.
When the first man and woman disobeyed the Creator in the garden, they brought death upon themselves and everything in creation, because God told them if you eat of the forbidden fruit, you will surely die.
Sin brings death.
Jesus came to get rid of death by sacrificing His own life. Jesus was giving His own life in exchange for ours, where Adam disobeyed, Jesus obeyed. He lived a perfect life of obedience to the Creator, His Father.
Jesus lived a perfect life and died for our sins on a tree called the cross. Just like the tree of life in the garden, Jesus became a tree of life by giving up His own life.
Like the animals that God killed to cover man’s shame in the garden, Jesus shed His own blood to cover the shame that we feel when we do bad things. And to show that Jesus had power over death that Adam had brought into the world, Jesus came back to life three days after He died.
Some of the people thought it was fake, like He really didn’t die, but others literally saw Him dead, and then they saw Him alive again. There were eye witnesses, hundreds of people that saw Him after He raised from the dead.
And they believed Him and they followed Him, because He was the light who overcame the darkness. He was the life that conquered death. He was the only one that could save them from their sins and bring them back to their Creator God.
Jesus came to give His perfect life to anyone who would trust Him, not just one person or one nation of people; Jesus came that all nations might hear this good message and find their way back to God.
This was certainly wonderful news to me, and even as a young boy I knew I couldn’t be good enough to get to God. There wasn’t anything I could do to get rid of my sin and shame.
But when Jesus said that all I have to do is look to Him as my light, as my life, as my salvation, to trust Him as the only one who could save me from my sins, this was the greatest gift anyone could ever give me.
So this is what I did, I trusted Jesus to save me from my sins. I trusted Him to do what He promised to do in taking away all my shame from all my disobeying and give me the life of perfect obedience that He had lived.
And now, 20 years later, I’m still amazed at who Yeshua, Jesus, is and what He has done for me. He is the most precious gift I could ever have received, a gift from the Creator Himself, His one and only Son.
So, what about you? Would you like to receive the gift that the Creator is offering you? You can receive Jesus as your Savior like you receive a gift on Christmas.
If you want the gift, reach out and take it from the giver, and thank Him for it. The Creator offers you a light in the darkness, life instead of death, and a way to be saved from your sins and brought back to your Creator.
The Creator’s Word tells us this: That He loved the world in this way, that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God remains on him. If you believe in, trust in Yeshua, Jesus, you will be saved from your sins and you will be brought back to your Creator.
What an amazing gift to receive this Christmas Day. I hope you do.