Day 7 – Monday, Dec 11
Christmas in Germany is a very special time. Families gather together for the celebration of the Savior’s birth and honor the Christ Child. While serving in Germany as missionaries, we realized that for many German people, Christmas is merely a traditional family time. Most who called themselves “Christians” denied that Jesus was the Son of God and that they needed to be saved by Jesus Christ from sin and condemnation. While celebrating the birth of Jesus on the one hand, they were denying the very existence of God on the other.
In our work there with small, evangelical churches, we celebrated several Christmases with a body of believers who had endured persecution and judgment for openly admitting that they were committed to serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Our small church of thirty believers dedicated their lives to serving the Lord, despite the mockery of neighbors or family members who called them “radicals.”
One special service remains in my mind because of the beauty of the believers’ worship of the Lord. On Christmas Eve, we all gathered together in the meeting room. Various participants stood and testified to God’s blessing and protection. In addition, the children sang Christmas carols with all their hearts. Our three children were included with the choir, and they sang with such fervor, that my heart was touched by God’s work in their young lives as well.
The moment of the candle lighting arrived, and everyone carefully held the small candle with the paper holder as one by one, each believer lit his or her candle, openly identifying with the Lord Jesus, the Light of the World. We sang “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” in awe of the gift of the Savior, the only begotten Son of God. We each sang with our hearts full of thanksgiving for the Greatest Gift of All. In those moments, I also realized that it is not about huge numbers acknowledging Jesus as Savior and Lord, but, in fact, it is all about each one whom God saves. Today, I remember those beloved faces lit softly by the candles’ glowing, praising God for the Savior with all their hearts.
Dr. Terri Stricker, Clark Academic Center Director