Christmas 2020--Good News for Thirsty People
Dikaios Pang goes behind the scenes of this year's Christmas service, a reminder of God's abundant grace in a difficult year.
“Is it possible that this year has been a gift so that you might thirst for God?”
Christmas was a little different this year. No buffets, only 100 members in attendance and everyone masked up and safely distanced. Nevertheless, remembering that just a few months ago we were not able to meet at all, the busy hands behind the scenes faithfully implementing safety measures deserve our gratitude for enabling us to meet at all.
Who may ascend to the sanctuary? Only those with clean hands, a pure heart, and a temperature below 37.5°C.
The ushering ministry enabling us to gather safely.
Greeting ushers with joy unmasked.
Worship was led from a different set of boxes this year.
We do not give up meeting together but do so safely, supported by many behind the scenes.
Apt for what has been a difficult year for many, Scripture was read from Isaiah 12:1-6, a passage written 700 years before the birth of Christ historically and after eleven chapters of “earthquake and thunder” contextually. The Christmas message thus brought the Advent series of messages to a close, a series which brought us through the various hardships the Israelite nation was put through, leading inexorably to the ultimate fulfilment of the prophecy in the person of Jesus Christ.
Days of Difficult Grace lead us to Christmas.
“Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. It will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the need for a Savior.”
— John Piper
Pastor Ian reminded us that difficult days, whether in Babylonian exile or modern-day pandemic, are allowed by God so that we will turn afresh to Him; much like physical thirst which keeps us close to earthly waters, hardship is a form of Grace that leads us back to God. It is only when we reach the end of ourselves and find ourselves still inexplicably thirsting that we realise afresh our need for God.
When thirst is Quenched, Thanksgiving is natural.
The service ended not with the more familiar “O Come All Ye Faithful” but a different song: “O Come, All You Unfaithful”, as Pastor Ian reminded us that Christ came not for the religious but for people like all us who have gone astray; Christmas is reminder that even in difficult days, there is a Path back.
"Christ is born, Christ is born, Christ is born for you."
Our appreciation to Lee Qing Ping for the photos, the full album is available here.
We would also like to thank all who have forwarded photos of you celebrating Christmas with your family and friends at home:
and in church:
May grace, peace and joy be with you all!
You can watch the Christmas service here: