Luk 2:10 ... but the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. "
It's Christmas day today. Guess where I am?
I am now faraway from home, away from my familiar surroundings, and struggling to adapt to a new working environment while catching up with studies.
Luckily... there's a church just a kilometer away, so there's really no excuse for me to miss out on celebrating the spirit of Christmas with others who share the faith. I attended the Christmas service in Taman Midah Lutheran Church.
"Welcome to all who join us on Christmas day."
Energetic youths led the congregation into worship.
A time of singing praises to God.
Followed by the Christmas message from a very comedic Pastor Ezra Yew, who started with listing the benefits of having a big belly (like his, and Santa's).
By the way, the Christmas service was in Cantonese, with English translation (the young guy did a great job!).
Then came the part about Santa Claus replacing Jesus Christ as the symbol of Christmas. The world has replaced CHRISTmas with X'mas... the 'x' being the unknown variable used in mathematics. People do not know what they're celebrating on Christmas anymore. It has became a marketing instrument to boost spending and shopping. And the 'mas' in Christmas symbolises the 3 main elements of Christmas these days...
1. Money - no money how to go for Christmas shopping and Year-End sales wor ...
2. Amusement - partying, countdowns, performances ...
3. Self - it's about making myself happy on Christmas day.
Many in the world today have turned a deaf ear to the Good News that was proclaimed to the shepherds on the day Jesus was born. Shepherds those days lived dull lives ... they were poor, looked down upon, and only had sheep as company all day long. The good news of Jesus' birth and God's forgiveness of sin and reconciling with mankind would have been extremely refreshing to those earliest witnesses of Jesus' birth. Of course some were skeptical and chose to watch from afar; but those who went to seek Jesus found for themselves a life-changing encounter. The good news of Christmas is still calling out for responders today. If we choose to tune our ears to the good news amidst the hustles and bustles of the world, we too would find our lives totally changed because we allowed God to work in our hearts. But you need to make a stand, as the shepherds did: to be skeptical and wait... or to go and seek Jesus. Life is unpredictable, you never know when the chance would come again... and Christmas only comes once a year. None of the 27 deceased in the Cameron Highlands bus tragedy knew that their lives would end so abruptly.
And then came the altar call. OK there were many Cantonese jokes that just could not be translated into English.
The pastors gave out school bags and stuffs to forty plus children in the neighbourhood and prayed for their wellbeing. Some of their parents were in church too.
The youths ended the Christmas service by bidding "we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".
I hope they didn't mind me taking so many photos... my fingers itchy already coz the poor camera has been in cold storage since I arrived in Cheras. Too busy no time for photographic indulgences.
Merry Christmas and may the good news of Christmas be a blessing to you and your family.
I should go back to my books now.