Christmas (Christ’s Birthday) is celebrated at this time of year. This story of how Jesus was born to a virgin (mo gsar) named Mariam is told in the Gospel of Luke. Never before had a girl, without experience of union with a man (skyes-pa dang ‘dus ma myong), given birth to a child. For this reason Dr Luke, a physician, had made detailed enquiry of events from the beginning in order to be certain of the facts.


It was about 2015 to 2020 years ago, and Mariam was probably a teen-age girl. She lived in  the West Asian country of Israel. Although her family was poor, its lineage (rgyud-pa) went back to David, who had been king of the Jews a thousand years beforehand. She was promised in marriage to a man called Joseph whose lineage also went back to the kings of David’s dynasty.

Until wedding rituals were finished, she was being kept at home.

It was during that time that a messenger-angel, called Gabriel, came from God and said to her, Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!


ལེའུ་དང་པོ། 1:26-28


མི༷ར་ཡམ་ཞེས་ཟེར་བའི་གཞོན་ནུ་མའི་སར་མངགས། མི༷ར་ཡམ་ནི་རྒྱལ་པོ་དཱ༷་བིད་ཀྱི་རྒྱུད་པ་ཡོ༷་སེབ་ཀྱི་བཟའ་ཟླར་འགྱུར་བ་ཐག་གཅོད་བྱས་པ་རེད།

ནང་ལ་ཕེབས་སྐབས་གེ༷བ་རི་ཨེལ་གྱིས་ཁོ་མོར་“ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཐོབ་པ་ཁྱོད་ལ་བདེ་བ་དང་ལྡན་པར་གྱུར་ཅིག གཙོ་བོ་ཁྱོད་དང་མཉམ་དུ་བཞུགས་”ཞེས་གསུངས།

His words made Mariam very frightened. She wondered what was the meaning of this greeting. The angel spoke again, Don’t fear, Mariam; God is pleased with you. You’ll have a son whom you are to call Jesus. He’ll be great and be given the name The Son of the Most High God. He will be king in the line of King David over Israel, and his kingdom will last for ever.’


ལེའུ་དང་པོ། 1:30-33

དཀོན་མཆོག་གི་ཕོ་ཉས་ཁོ་མོར་“མི༷ར་ཡམ། མ་འཇིགས་ཤིག དཀོན་མཆོག་ནས་ཁྱོད་ལ་ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཐོབ།

ལྟོས་ཤིག ཁྱོད་མངལ་དང་ལྡན་པར་འགྱུར་ཏེ་སྲས་ཤིག་སྐྱེས་ནས་ཁྱོད་ཀྱིས་ཁོང་གི་མཚན་ལ་ཡེ༷་ཤུ་ཞེས་ཐོགས་ཤིག

ཁོང་སྐྱེས་བུ་ཆེན་པོར་འགྱུར་ལ་བླ་ན་མེད་པའི་དཀོན་མཆོག་གི་སྲས་ཞེས་ཀྱང་གསོལ་བར་འགྱུར། གཙོ་བོ་དཀོན་མཆོག་གིས་ཁོང་ལ་རང་གི་མེས་པོ་དཱ༷་བིད་གྱི་བཞུགས་ཁྲི་གནང་ཞིང༌།

ཁོང་གིས་ཡ༷་ཀོབ་ཀྱི་རྒྱུད་པར་དུས་རྒྱུན་དུ་དབང་སྒྱུར་ལ། ཁོང་གི་རྒྱལ་སྲིད་ནི་མཐའ་མེད་པའོ་”ཞེས་གསུངས།


But Mariam did not understand, because her marriage to Joseph was not yet completed. She said, ‘How can that be? I am a virgin.’


ལེའུ་དང་པོ། 1:34



And Gabriel explained, The Holy Spirit will fall upon you, and the power of the Most High God will spread over you; therefore the child to be born to you will be called the holy Son of God … For nothing will be impossible with God.


ལེའུ་དང་པོ། 1:35

ཕོ་ཉས་“དམ་པའི་ཐུགས་ཉིད་ཁྱོད་ལ་འབབ་ཅིང་བླ་ན་མེད་པའི་དཀོན་མཆོག་གི་ནུས་མཐུ་ཁྱོད་ལ་ཁྱབ་པར་འགྱུར། དེའི་ཕྱིར་ཕྲུ་གུ་དམ་པ་དེ་ལ་དཀོན་མཆོག་གི་སྲས་ཞེས་གསོལ།

ལེའུ་དང་པོ། 1:37

གང་ཡིན་ཟེར་ན། དཀོན་མཆོག་གིས་མཛད་མི་སྲིད་པ་གང་ཡང་མེད་དོ་”ཞེས་གསུངས།


And Mariam believed, and said, I am the Lord’s maidservant (gyok-mo). So, let it happen to me as you say.’


ལེའུ་དང་པོ། 1:38



Then the angel left, and Mariam’s heart was filled with wonder and joy. What to say? She was just a village girl; what a privilege that God was giving her!

And she sang; she knew that she was blessed because God’s plan to bless the world given to Abraham, the forefather of the Israelite nation, was about to be fulfilled through her. And she foresaw that future generations would call her blessed as the mother of the Messiah Christ Jesus.


ལེའུ་དང་པོ། 1:46-50

ཡང་མི༷ར་ཡམ་གྱིས་ ང་ཡི་སེམས་ནས་གཙོ་བོར་བསྟོད༎


ཁོང་གིས་དམའ་བའི་གཡོག་མོར་གཟིགས༎ ད་ནས་མི་རབས་ཀུན་གྱིས་ནི༎ ང་ལ་བདེ་ལེགས་བརྗོད་པར་འགྱུར༎

དབང་ཀུན་ལྡན་པས་ང་ལ་ནི༎ ངོ་མཚར་ལས་རྣམས་མཛད་པ་དང༌༎ ཁོང་གི་མཚན་ནི་དམ་པ་ཡིན༎

ཁོང་ལ་གུས་པའི་མི་རབས་ཀུན༎ ཁོང་གི་ཐུགས་རྗེས་ཁྱབ་པར་འགྱུར༎


ལེའུ་དང་པོ། 1:54-55

ཁོང་གིས་མེས་པོར་གསུངས་པ་ལྟར༎ གཡོག་པོ་ཡི༷་སི་ར་ཨེལ་ལ༎ ཁོང་གིས་རོགས་པ་གནང་བར་མཛད༎ ཨ༷བ་ར་ཧམ་དང་དེའི་རྒྱུད་པ༎ དགོངས་ནས་ནམ་ཡང་ཐུགས་རྗེས་གཟིགས༎ ཞེས་གསུངས་སོ།


Her song is still sung by churches all around the world, especially at Christmas time.


Mariam believed that what God told her would happen; and, as a result, she was mightily blessed. Her life was changed. And, likewise, the lives of all who honour her holy son Jesus, trusting in his mercy, will be blessed.



We tell the story of a God fearer who was led to meet Jesus by one of his disciples. ‘God-fearer’ was the title given by Jews to those who had belief in the One True God. In the Hebrew shastra we read that God made the universe (Genesis Chapter 1). He is the Self-existent Rarest and Best One (rang-grub dkon-mchok). He is the One who described Himself as I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:14). And the shastra describes how he was the Creator; that is, all things in the universe have their cause (rgyu) in Him. (See footnote)


Dr Luke tells the story of this very important minister to the Candace (Queen Mother), ruler of her country in Africa. It is found in Acts Ch.8 vv.26-40, which is posted separately. I have given him the name Nyugram because in Luke’s account in Greek he is called eunuchos; and a eunuch he may have been; or else Eunuch was the title of his ministerial post.

Nyugram had been worshipping in the Temple in Jerusalem, and was now setting off on his long journey home in his bullock-drawn official ‘car’. He had reached the dry steppe country near Gaza, and was reading the shastra. And then Philip, a disciple of Jesus, approached and spoke to him.

“Do you understand what you are reading?”

Verse 30

ཕི་ལིབ་དེའི་རྩར་བརྒྱུགས་ཤིང༌། གཉེར་དཔོན་དེས་ལུང་སྟོན་པ་ཡེ་ཤ་ཡཱ་ཡི་མདོ་ཀློག་གི་ཡོད་པ་ཐོས་ནས་ཁོང་ལ་ “ཁྱེད་ཀྱིས་ཀློག་པ་དེའི་དོན་རྟོགས་སམ་” ཞེས་དྲིས།

Nyugram replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”


Verse 31

གཉེར་དཔོན་གྱིས་ “སུ་ཞིག་གིས་ང་ལ་གསལ་བཤད་མ་བྱས་ན་ངས་ཇི་ལྟར་ཤེས་” ཅེས་སྨྲས་ནས་ཁོང་གིས་ཕི་ལིབ་ལ་ཤིང་རྟའི་ནང་མཉམ་དུ་སྡོད་པར་གདན་དྲངས།

And Philip was invited to explain the sutra to him.

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 

In his humiliation justice was denied him.  

Who can describe his generation?                   

For his life is taken away from the earth.” (Isaiah 53:7,8)


Verses 32,33









And Nyugram asked, “About whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”


Verse 34

གཉེར་དཔོན་གྱིས་ཕི་ལིབ་ལ་ “ལུང་བསྟན་དེ་ནི་ལུང་སྟོན་པས་ཁོ་རང་ངམ་ཡང་ན་མི་གཞན་སུ་ཡི་སྐོར་གསུངས་པ་དེ་ང་ལ་གསུངས་དང་” ཞེས་སྨྲས་པ་ན།

Then Philip explained how the sutra was a prophecy of how Jesus himself would take the blame for our sin, because, while he was being humiliated and dying, it was our punishment that he carried. He himself left behind no family, yet it was so, that we might have future unfading life.

At that moment they came to one of the very few streams in those parts. And Nyugram exclaims, “Ah! see, some water! What is there to stop me being baptized?”

Verse 36

ཁོ་ཚོ་ལམ་ལ་འགྲོ་དུས་ཆུ་ཡོད་སར་སླེབས་པས་གཉེར་དཔོན་གྱིས་ “ལྟོས་དང༌། འདིར་ཆུ་འདུག ངས་ཁྲུས་གསོལ་ལེན་ན་ཅི་མ་རུང་” ཞེས་བཤད་ནས།*

So Philip baptized him.

He came up dripping, but with joy in his heart as he travelled on.


footnote –


དཀོན་མཆོག་ནི་ཡབ་དཀོན་མཆོག་དང༌། སྲས་དཀོན་མཆོག དམ་པའི་ཐུགས་ཉིད་དཀོན་མཆོག་བཅས་ཡིན་ལ། ངེད་རྣམས་ཀྱི་གཙོ་བོ་ཡེ་ཤུ་མཱ་ཤི་ཀའི་ཡབ་ཡིན། ཁོང་ནི་གཙོ་བོ་དཀོན་མཆོག་གམ། ཡ་ཝེ་དཀོན་མཆོག དབང་ཀུན་དང་ལྡན་པའི་དཀོན་མཆོག བླ་ན་མེད་པའི་དཀོན་མཆོག་ཀྱང་ཟེར། དཀོན་མཆོག་ནི་ཀུན་མཁྱེན་ཡིན་ཞིང༌། ཁོང་མ་གནས་པའི་ས་ཆ་གཅིག་ཀྱང་མེད། དཀོན་མཆོག་གིས་འཇིག་རྟེན་ཁམས་དང་དེར་ཡོད་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་བཀོད་པ་གནང་ཞིང༌། སེམས་ཅན་ཐམས་ཅད་ལ་སྲོག་གནང༌། (འགོད་པ་ 1:20-31 ལ་གཟིགས་) ཁོང་གིས་གཙོ་བོ་ཡེ་ཤུར་དད་པ་རྣམས་ལ་དམ་པའི་ཐུགས་ཉིད་མངགས། ཡེ་ཤུའི་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཀྱི་དཀོན་མཆོག་ནི་ནང་པའི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་དཀོན་མཆོག་དང་གཅིག་པ་མིན།ད


Nyugram found the Saviour Jesus Christ because he believed the prophecy in the shastra. Next time we will read how an apostle of Jesus refused to believe that Jesus had revived from death to be his Saviour, unless he actually saw and touched him.



This story of his life is told in a booklet ‘Nima Tshering of Shang, Tibet’ (Maranatha Revival Crusade, Secunderabad).


Tshering was born in 1917. His parents were serfs (tshe g.yog) who put him into Shang Gadan Chokhor Monastery to become a monk; they did this lest their owner took their only son to be a servant, just as they themselves had been taken when only children.

Tshering tells how it happened: ‘When we came to the monastery my teacher told me that when the head lama talked with me, he would ask how old I was. This teacher said that I must answer that I was seven years old, as that was the youngest age that a boy could be admitted to that monastery. Sure enough, when I went to the lama, he asked that question. I answered, “I am six years old, but my teacher told me to say that I was seven years old, otherwise I will not be admitted.” The principal laughed and laughed and said, “Pooh! You will be a truthful man when you grow up. Although you are only six years old you may become a monk today.”’

Tshering made very good progress as a monk, and after some years, went on to study in the great monasteries of Lhasa. While living at Drepung he had good food and could also earn money. He writes: ‘When people died, I went to their homes to read from the prayer-book called Bardo Thoydol (bardo thos grol, The Tibetan Book of the Dead). This book shows the way of hell. Buddhism says that everyone must go to hell once. If they do good work and worship the idols, then they can be reborn into this world as a human being. There are many kinds of gods in hell. They have animal heads, and when the dead person’s spirit sees them it shakes with fear. This is what I as a lama explained to the relatives of the dead person.’

In 1952 he was in Bhutan during the great festival of The Illumination of the Buddha, the day when he began his teaching (drugpa tshes bzhi, The 4th of the 6TH Month Festival). He writes, ‘All we lamas gathered together to worship. We had good food and wine, and we all became intoxicated. Also, I became sexually involved with a girl. All these things are against the lamas’ teachings. From that day on I was no longer a lama. I felt very sorry about this and no longer wanted to stay in Bhutan.                ‘I was now 35 years old, and had learned Buddhist teachings for 29 years. I left Bhutan and went to India, and visited many holy places – Buddh Gaya, Varanasi, Kushinagar and many others. My money then ran out, and I was left with no peace and no possessions.’

In Calcutta he found work, but while there fell very ill with malaria. A Finnish lady gave him food and medicine at a Christian dispensary. She also gave him the Holy Bible, in which he read that God made the world, and how idols are not worthy to be worshipped. And he thought, “This is not my religion.”

He went from there to Darjeeling, where an English couple, who were Christians, asked him to teach them Tibetan. Again he read in the Bible about idols, how people prayed to wooden idols, saying, “You are my God, save me” (Isaiah 44:9-17). But Isaiah also wrote that the idol can’t move from its place, it does not answer or save us.

ཡེ་ཤ་ཡཱ 46:7

དེ་ཚོས་དེ་ནི་གཉའ་བར་བཏེགས་ནས་འཁུར། དེ་ནི་གང་དུ་བཞག་ཀྱང་དེར་གནས་སོ།

འགུལ་མི་ཐུབ་པ་དེ་རུ་གནས་པར་འགྱུར། སུ་ཞིག་དེ་ལ་སྨོན་ལམ་འདེབས་རྩ་ན་།

དེ་ཡིས་ལན་འདེབས་བྱས་མི་ཐུབ་པ་དང། ཡང་ན་རྐྱེན་ངན་སོགས་ནས་སྐྱོབ་མི་ཐུབ།


After this Tshering became sick again, and was treated for 11 months in a TB hospital. Then a Christian man came and prayed for his sickness. He was cured and believed in the Lord Jesus. In the Bible he found it would be for a blessing if he obeyed the Lord God, but for a curse if he followed dead idol gods (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).


བཀའ་ཁྲིམས་སྐྱར་བཤད་ 11:26-28

དེ་རིང་ངས་ཁྱོད་ཚོར་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་དམོད་པ་གཉིས་ལས་གཅིག་འདམས་ཀ་བྱེད་པའི་གོ་སྐབས་སྤྲད་ཀྱི་ཡོད། དེ་རིང་ངས་ཁྱོད་ཚོར་སློབ་སྟོན་བྱེད་བཞིན་ཡོད་པའི་གཙོ་བོ་དཀོན་མཆོག་ཁྱོད་ཚོའི་དཀོན་མཆོག་གི་བཀའ་རྒྱ་རྣམས་ལ་སྲུང་པ་ཡིན་ན་ཁྱོ་ཚོ་ལ་བྱིན་རླབས་ཐོབ་རྒྱུ་དང་། འོན་ཀྱང་བཀའ་རྒྱ་འདི་དག་མ་ཉན་པར་དེ་སྔ་ནམ་ཡང་མ་མཆོད་པའི་ལྷ་རྟེན་གཞན་ལ་མཆོད་པ་ཡིན་ན་ཁྱོད་ཚོར་དམོད་པ་འཕོག་ངེས་སོ།


And in Isaiah again, he read how God was offering a new way of liberation from samsara (‘khor ba).


ཡེ་ཤ་ཡཱ 43:18-19


ཁྱོད་ཚོ་འདས་པའི་བྱ་བར་མ་དྲན་ཞིག། ཡང་ན་ཡུན་རིང་སྔོན་དུ་བྱུང་བར་མ་ཆགས་ཤིག།

ང་ཡིས་བྱ་རྒྱུའི་བྱ་བ་གསར་པར་ལྟོས། བྱུང་བཞིན་པ་དེ་ད་ལྟ་ཁྱོད་ཚོས་མཐོང་ཐུབ།

མི་མེད་ལུང་སྟོང་བརྒྱུད་ནས་ལམ་བཟོས་ཏེ། ཁྱོད་ལ་དེ་རུ་རྒྱུགས་ཆུ་བྱིན་པར་བྱ།


ཡེ་ཤ་ཡཱ 43:25

དེ་བས་ན་ཁྱོད་ཀྱི་སྡིག་སེལ་བྱ་མཁན་གྱི། གཙོ་བོ་དཀོན་མཆོག་དེ་ནི་ང་ཡིན་ནོ།

ང་ནི་རང་གི་ཆེད་དུ་འདི་ལྟར་བྱས། ང་ཡིས་ཁྱོད་ཆོའི་སྡིག་པར་སླར་མི་དྲན།


After that, Tshering opened his heart to the Lord, and invited him to stay in his heart, as the Saviour Jesus whose promise of forgiveness and cleansing he trusted.


ཡོ་ཧ་ནན་༡ 1:9

 གལ་ཏེ་ང་ཚོས་རང་གི་སྡིག་ཉེས་ཁས་བླངས་ན། དཀོན་མཆོག་ནི་བློ་གཏད་ཆོག་པ་དང་ཡང་དག་པ་ཡིན་པས་སྡིག་ཉེས་སེལ་ཞིང་དྲང་པོ་མེད་པའི་དྲི་མ་ལས་ཡོངས་སུ་འདག་པར་མཛད།


So Tshering was baptized in 1955, and spent the rest of his life in this new way of trusting and obeying, and enjoying Jesus’ blessing. He wrote and distributed gospel booklets, and taught in a school for Tibetan boys, and became a leader in Christian churches.

This is how he finishes his life story, ‘Recently the Lord led me to Kathmandu, Nepal, where I now serve Him. Here there is a great number of Tibetans, whom I seek to tell of the true and living God; and of the Saviour who saves from sin and from its penalty, so that we don’t need to go to hell – not even once  …. Pray that many will be delivered from the chains of darkness, and brought into the light of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.’