What are your memories of Christmas?
When it comes to Christmas, I will never forget the Christmas at Kishiwada Bible Church in Osaka, where I grew up as a child in elementary school.
For me, Christmas Eve was a festive and most enjoyable day.
First, we would sing Christmas carols with the choir in front of the station after noon. I was happy and embarrassed when my school friends found me.
Then, an eve service at the church. We had a candlelight service and sang hymns. Then I smell something burning. The high school boys behind me are burning my hair! Whaaaat a surprise! I almost got into a big fight during the service.
After such a happening, we now split up into groups to go out for Christmas caroling. A car group, a bicycle group, and a walking group. We go around to those who have attended church, those who are sick, and those who are currently evangelizing, contacting them in advance. Each group goes to about three to five homes. I loved these outreach caroling. I loved these delivery caroling because the people we would visit would have various sweets, cakes, fruits, and other goodies waiting for us. As a child, it was the best service I had ever done, and I would get a great reward just for going and singing.
When I finally returned to the church in the cold, the ladies’ group had prepared the church’s specialty, “Bikkuri Udon” (surprise udon). It is a regular kitsune udon, but the amount is so large that it is surprisingly large, as it is for one and a half to two balls! I remember that the name came from the fact that the amount of udon was so large that it was called “surprise udon.
Anyway, everyone eats these warm udon noodles out of the freezing cold, and then we put out sweets and cakes like spoils of war and eat them, and from there, everyone, young and old, men and women, enjoy the games together until late at night (I guess until about 10:00 pm).
Well, that was fun! It was delicious!
It’s great when you get invited to Jesus’ birthday party! I have thought that since I was a child. I had learned about Jesus who was born as a man for my sins in Sunday school, but anyway, having Jesus born and being able to spend such a fun Christmas Eve is a pleasant memory from those days.
These days, both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day end up being spent preparing for EC. But we can all respond to God’s invitation at EC afterwards and gather at Jesus’ banquet.
I am now looking forward to seeing what gifts God has in store for us at this year’s EC. It is something He has specially prepared for all participants, including my personal one. There will also be wonderful blessings that the Lord has prepared for those who remember us in prayer.
As we thank and celebrate the birth of Jesus, the light of hope who came to a world of darkness.
Setsu Shimizu (North America Director)