An afternoon of… Christmas Joy!

For some years now, there is a nice Festival going on, close to the Holidays time, organized by a group of young people from different churchies. It’s been growing along the years, as this is a time of joy and the young people are very happy to get togheter, sing carols and watch dramas, listening to a message, having a tee togheter and so on. You might also remember the good time we had with the young people from Gepiu for 1st of May, we had a short report on that. Well, it seems the other young people also felt good being with us, because they invited us again, this time for this Christmas Festival, and we gladly accepted the invitation.

When we first hear the invitation, we thought we were only suppose to go and be spectators. So, no big deal! But then, we found out we will need to prepare a Christmas song, that we’ll sing in front of those hundreds of people, and suddenly, the whole enthusiasm of our youngs was deflating. None of them had the chance – or the burden – to stay in front of a crowd and perform before. I could even hear voices like “well, is not that we have to go!” But, as a general that motivates the troops, I told them that we will be there, perform our song and pick the crowns! Everybody laughed, unconvinced… Still, after some discussion, they were ready to give it a try. We decided to put togheter three or four songs, into one single soundtrack, which I prommised I will produce, so that we don’t have to worry about some other group of participants “steeling” our song.

Another challenge for the participants was for each person to make a nice present for someone that is in great need, so that each one will make someone else happy for this Christmas. They were suppose to be made into a shuebox, nicely wrapped and filled with toys, sweets, or whatever would be appropriate for such a  present.

Of course, for our people in Gepiu, this was an extra challenge, because they are really not rich, most of them have so little, their families can not afford presents for their own children, let alone others. I was told that probably is for the best we do not even ask our youngs to make those presents, all the others participants will understand, noone will actually expect that we will make these boxes… But, while thinking of it, I realised this is actually the best opportunity for all of us to understand better what Christmas is about, and to encourage even our not so rich teenagers to think of those that are even less rich, even less happy, even less blessed. I told them to try to bring those things they can afford, even if very little, but with a mind and heart for those who are in greater need.

We only had one afternoon for rehearsal. At the end, I found out not all of us will be able to make it. Some will have to leave the town, some will be with the families, and some are sick – bad coulds. Well, I announced that all who can make it, should be ready for the coming Saturday afternoon, and to not forget their gifts, probably we will put togheter all the stuff collected, and so we will make one or two boxes, we won’t go there empty handed.

On Saturday, I went to Gepiu to pick everybody up. There were about 15 people, ready to go and participate to the Festival of Joy, ready to sing, ready to give their presents. The first surprise for me was when I arrived at the Gepiu Centre and saw the shueboxes our people made. There were twelve of them! Not one or two as I hoped for, but twelve – that was unbelievable to me! I was extremely happy and surprised more that words can tell, when I understand what a lesson this was for me, and for everybody! Not only we could give for those who do not have, but we actually did even better than most of the other participants – as I could see later on the evening – because we had almost one gift for each person in the group. There were groups that didn’t make any present, so I felt sooo happy and proud of our Gepiu teenagers! It’s so obvious how God does touch people’s hearts and minds, and we – of all people – have proven that Christmas is about giving, loving and encouraging!

The second surprise was when we started our presentation. We were all scared of making a mistake or something, so everyone will laugh at us… Instead, all the people, easily about five hundred, started to sing along, and clap, and being one single voice with us! I could see on everyone’s faces how much they enjoyed our songs, and that was such a reward for me and for all Gepiu teenagers, so much so that even the mistakes we did do were not noticed and did not count at all! We had a blast, we were the revelation of the evening! Of course, we were invited also for next time!…

So, God is so good and so surprinsingly humourous! From my initial thoughts of not asking too much, we might be disappointed, to you see, if you go ahead, you’ll succeed more than you’ve ever hoped! On the way back home from the Festival, our teenagers were keep telling me how good they felt they were able to give away and how much God rewarded them, by giving our performance such a great success! I tend to agree, except with the last part: God is simply good and loving, without us deserving it. He is just such a great father, he would not miss an opportunity to teach us more, in practical ways, and me, personally, I am simply amazed each time of how wonderful He is!


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