This year, we had the privilege to be involved in a few activities that truly impacted my soul and the way I have always viewed Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we attended a candlelight service at a local fellowship that Cameron works very closely with. We met with them a few weeks prior to Christmas to explain what a candlelight service is and why we thought it would be a great opportunity for them this season to share the true message with their friends. The leadership grew more and more excited as we discussed and soon began to take ownership with their own ideas and ways to do things. We sat back and let them talk and plan, feeling like new parents, full of pride that the little chicks were branching out on their own. Don’t get me wrong, this fellowship is bold and growing by leaps and bounds, but there is now a trust between us due to the relationships that Cameron has been given the opportunity to foster and it was heart warming to see their whole heartedness in this service. As the evening approached, we both began to feel dread and wished we never brought up the idea of a Christmas Eve Service. The enemy was trying his best to steal our joy with whispers about it being late and missing out on family time and the “specialness” of Christmas Eve. We were committed, however, and said a prayer asking for Father to overcome our flesh.
His faithfulness never ceases to blow me away, but this night was especially a blessing to me. As the familiar tune Amazing Grace filled the room of more than 100 people, all around me voices rose singing in a language not my own. My eyes filled with tears and an indescribable emotion overtook my heart. My Jesus, the One whom I gave my life to and love so dearly, was here in this place. He was in the midst of these local believers accepting their worship and loving them as much as He loves me. In that moment, I understood our sameness. These people are my family. We have the same Father and the same future and will spend eternity striving to give our praises to the same King.
That night ten people went forward as new brothers and sisters! The joy in the room was contagious and captured what Christmas is all about. He was born so that He could die to save us, and ten more people are now covered by His grace! Amen!Those feelings have rested within my soul and changed the way I see the people around me. My head always knew the facts, but my heart didn’t feel it. On Sunday morning, we went to another gathering that blew me away. While people here do not celebrate Christmas in the tradition-filled way that we do, they do celebrate the birth of the Savior. The effort and time put into their service struck a chord within me. So often, I am judgmental about how things are done here because it is so different from what is “normal” to me. As I sat through skit after skit from college students that shared the message boldly and through dances and performances that were intended to praise the King, I was humbled. It may look different, but it was every bit as good. It was intentional and moving and required a response.And respond they did! More new brothers and sisters joined the family this day. Amen!
Despite the awkward and most embarrassing moment when Cam and I were
forced asked to sing (my adamant no went unheeded as a microphone was shoved into my hands) and the appearance of the ancient, skinny Asian Santa, I couldn’t have planned for a better way to spend this Sunday morning than being in that place surrounded on all sides by family.