By: Nitin Saraf
India is a multi-cultural, multi-traditional and multi-religious country that celebrates many festivals. As we view these festivals through a Christian lens, they provide excellent opportunities for witnessing our faith in Jesus. For Hindus, Diwali is the biggest and most important festival. This year (2020) it is observed Nov. 14-19. In North India, Diwali celebrates when King Rama returned to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana. The people greeted and cheered his victory by lighting rows of clay lamps. In Southern India, Diwali is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. This is mainly a festival of triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness.
The Son of God came for humanity to save them from the wrath of sin. He did not have prejudices towards a specific group or groups of people. In a country of a population of 1.35 billion with nearly 80% followers of the Hindu faith, Diwali cannot be ignored or dismissed. Sharing about Jesus may be “risky” in such a religious environment, but we are called to do this risky work.
As Diwali is the triumph of good over evil, Hinduism fails to address the root cause of evil. And Christianity has an answer to that, which is disobedience. Humans fail to walk in the “light” of goodness and, therefore, darkness creeps into their lives. But humanity has a hope in Jesus. He proclaims, “I am the Light of the world.” This Light not only illuminates our present life, but it also illuminates our life through all eternity.
Take time today to pray for over one billion Hindus who are celebrating Diwali right now. Pray that they would know the True Light.
*Nitin Saraf is a doctoral student at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary. He is from Chikhli, Maharasha, India.