Celebrating the birth of our Lord at NightLight
Praising God during the NightLight Christmas service
Christmas came so fast this year and it seemed like I would never find the time to prepare or get ready for its arrival. In the midst of the rush and heavy work-load, my heart searched for the Christmas spirit that seemed just out of reach. I finally got the tree up, with my daughter's help, but still that yuletide spirit eluded my grasp. Giving up my annual women's Christmas event to do flood relief was a great opportunity, but still the feeling of "Christmas cheer" evaded me. "Where are you Christmas?" I longed for that peaceful moment portrayed on the cards where Immanuel, God with us, comes in a tangible way. Last-minute Christmas shopping in-between immigration runs for my visa did not help, even though the thought came to me that Mary and Joseph spent their Christmas days in lines for the government census as well. Still, my heart was reaching and searching for something else.
Church and More Church
Sunday afternoon, I left my kids at home with the Christmas decorations and partially-opened gifts, and headed to church for the second time that day. We worshiped at the International Church in the morning, but I still had the NightLight Christmas service to attend. It felt like a lot of church for Christmas Day. I was not terribly excited. I was in for a surprise though as several of my prodigal daughters showed up. Three women still in prostitution came to join us. There were 11 visitors who were friends and family of NightLight's women. The children were mischievous as always, but I delighted in seeing this next generation experiencing Christmas in the arms of love. One man accepted Christ on Christmas Day.
In the Testimony of Transformed Lives
It was while we were worshiping and singing, "You are great, You do miracles so great...", that the Christmas spirit wrapped itself around me, and I felt the tears come to my eyes. Yes, God is great. I looked around the room at the lives gathered there. The stories of these women and men testify to God's greatness and miracles. There standing and worshiping were two who nearly died of AIDS, but saved by the blood of Jesus are now thriving and serving God. There, leading worship, was one who spent years in and out of mental institutions, but now leads worship and has not been back to an institution or needed medication since. The main worship leader stood with her hands lifted high lost in glory, and I marveled that she once danced on a go-go stage and came to us an unwed pregnant woman with no home. There was my precious Gomer who is still in prostitution, but loves to come to worship Jesus and today brought her son with her. The lives filling up the room are testimonies that would fill a book with God's glory. Yes, I found the Christmas Spirit there in that room, in these transformed lives, as I worshiped with these precious ones. Immanuel, God is with Us, and He is still coming and changing our lives forever. The Christmas miracles continue and I stand in awe.
We at NightLight are so grateful for all the prayers, encouragement, purchases, and donations that make way for these miracles. I can testify to the impact of your generosity and sacrifice. Thank you so much for being a part, and I hope that you are also filled with joy at these testimonies.
May the true Christmas Spirit linger in your hearts not only this day but in the days to come.
God bless you!
Merry Christmas from all of us at NightLight!