On December 24, 2010, at exactly 5 in the afternoon, the lights in the church were dimmed and the cold mist from the fog machine filled the air. People flocked in, one family after another. They searched for empty pews to sit on. In a few minutes' time, the whole church was filled and the triumphant sound of "Joy to the World" entered with a blast.
The presentation this year was in no way you're-ordinary-Christmas-eve-celebration where the scene of belen was reenacted nor was it a simple concert of Christmas jingles. It was the story of Jesus' birth in the eyes of popular and not so popular Biblical characters. Each stood on a mini-stage strategically set-up around the church.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, stood under the cold dark winter night as she carried the baby in her tummy, looking for a place for rest, and possibly to give birth.
Joseph, the carpenter, sat at his work station with a few lumber cut in blocks and pieces in the background. He spoke of the time when he planned to divorce Mary upon learning that she was pregnant when they were already engaged. But the angel of the Lord prevented him doing so, this angel told him that "what is conceived in her is from the the Holy Spirit." It's so ironic that the King of kings was born out of a weak teenage woman who had no place to stay and a simple carpenter who probably couldn't afford the finest things in life. God does indeed choose the ordinary to do the extraordinary.
The three wise men, magi as they called themselves, walked across the aisle on their way home from handing their gifts to Jesus. Isn't it awesome that the wise (probably the wisest) men on earth knew about his coming - the exact date, time and place? Isn't it awesome that they worshipped a baby born in a stable where animals had lived? Isn't it awesome that this humble birth caused a stir during Herod's reign?
Anna, the prophetess, stood at the temple and told her story. For 60 years, she waited for the coming of the Messiah. She spent it fasting and praying, ministering to the people. And when the time has finally come, when she has finally seen the baby Jesus, her eyes swelled with tears as she joyfully proclaimed to the world that the Messiah child has finally come! "The redemption of Jerusalem is here!" I believed that many people in the congregation cried along with her.
And last but not the least, the innkeeper. Nothing much is said about the innkeeper in the Bible. This lady told Mary and Joseph that there was no room in her inn to accommodate them that night. However, she allowed them to stay in a stable outside (where she kept her animals) for a fraction of a price. This could keep them safe from thieves and warm them in the chilly night . Later, when she learned that the Savior was born in a humble place, specifically, in her stable, she regretted not giving them her room, the Master's Room.
I loved how the innkeeper's monologue led us to reflect: Do you have room for the Savior? Are you willing to give Him the Master's Room of your life? Are you willing to make him your Master? I guess, this is the best birthday gift we can ever gift to the One who's birthday is on the CHRISTmas day.
If you would like to witness this memorable evening yourself, good news!
The Christmas Eve Special: Come to Jesus will have its 2nd and 3rd repeats on:
Date: January 3, 2011
Time: 7pm and 9pm
Venue: Jubilee Evangelical Church
Do invite your family and friends. Come and let's celebrate!