WARNING! WARNING! The Lone Grey Squirrel is still posting about Christmas.
This last Christmas was surprisingly busy for me. Usually, I try to have a quiet one but maybe due to the alignment of the sun and Venus and the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem, it wasn’t to be this year.
It all started a few days before Christmas. The elderly lady with the broken arm which I referred to in the post “Guilt Weighs Heavy“, had her daughter from Australia and her daughter’s husband over visiting. I went over to meet up with them (Mary and Joe) and to discuss Mary’s mother’s health and to update them on what the doctors were saying. We had a good time of fellowship but I noticed that during our conversation, Joe kept using his hands to press about his chest. When I inquired about it, he said that he had been having some discomfort and difficulty in breathing after exercise. I urged them to see a doctor and they said that they would wait until they returned to Australia in a week’s time. However, God graciously let their path cross with a friend who was a nurse who after observing the symptoms, insisted that Joe check into a hospital immediately. So just two days later, I learned that Joe was in hospital and that the X-ray (or whatever scan it is that they do) had revealed an 80% blockage of one of the main arteries to the heart. He was operated on immediately. As they were without transportation, my wife and I assisted in getting Mary and relatives to and from the hospital and also made sure that they took time to eat and rest amidst all the stress. I am glad to report that Joe’s operation not only went well, he was discharged after another night in hospital and actually made his way to my church care group Christmas dinner about 4 days later on the 23rd of December.
My Care Group Christmas Dinner was my next big activity. I was the overall program coordinator and my wife was in charge of the food and refreshments. We held it in a small restaurant which served us a buffet of Nyonya food which we supplemented with a couple of turkeys roasted by one of our members. Altogether with invited family members and friends, we hosted about 60 people. About half who came were non-Christians. After a brief welcome by moi, we proceeded with the food. The feasting crowd was entertained by the smooth crooning of one, Tom Tan. Tom is a very good singer and he is part of a group called Tenors for Christ. He mesmerised us with a lovely Christmas song and then proceeded to sing some Andrea Bocelli song which was lovely although not a single soul there understood the Italian lyrics. Then we heard from two ladies from the group who shared how the significance of Christmas has changed for them now that they have become Christians. Finally we rounded it off with hearty carol singing led by me as the guy assigned the role of song leading came down with a sore throat.
Thus ended the night before the eve of Christmas. Now on Christmas Eve, my wife and I was invited to a friend’s home. He was having an open house for Christmas. He had invited a few of us and then told his teenage daughter to invite her friends. At 7.30 pm, my wife and I were the first guests to arrive. When we asked how many would be coming, he shrugged his shoulders saying that his daughter had tweeted just a couple of her friends about the party but had no idea who was coming. Well, at 8.30 pm the place was swamped with some 100 young people. Food was good. Fellowship was good. The plan was to hang around and then start caroling until midnight and then wish each other a blessed Christmas but I left as the singing got underway because I had to prepare for my next big activity.
I was supposed to give the sermon on Christmas Day and I wasn’t feeling sufficiently confident so I left the Christmas Eve party early (about 11 pm) and worked on my sermon until about 3 in the morning before crawling into bed. Christmas Service was at 10 am. This year our church had to rent a nearby college hall for the service as we were expecting many people to come. The young people performed a play that was based on different characters trying to audition for the different roles of a live Nativity play. Of course, each of the characters reveal their attitudes and prejudices towards Christmas as they auditioned for the parts. The main message in the end was that to understand Christmas is to understand that God loves us and our response should be one of surrender to Him, trust in Him and eventually leading to our proclamation of Him. Praise God – the hall was full with more than 320 people attending and almost all of them made it through my short 20 minute sermon without falling asleep. This was followed (in typical Malaysian fashion) by another feast.
As if that was not tiring enough, another friend invited us to a very special Christmas dinner party at a restaurant. Apart from celebrating Christmas, it was also the first time in years that his entire family was back in Malaysia at the same time. Stealing ideas from my earlier Care Group party, he had Tom Tan singing again and I was once again press-ganged into leading the carol singing.
Considering I normally prefer a quieter Christmas, I have to say this Christmas was also very satisfying though tiring and through it all I did experience the joy of remembering God’s gift of Jesus on that first Christmas day.
With that, I will stop talking about Christmas. However, I am sure it is only a matter of time that Hollywood will make a movie of it entitled “I Know What You Did Last Christmas”, which is my flimsy link to the picture at the top of this post. Also I just kind of like Sarah Michelle Gellar – she is the cutie – 3rd from the left.