Although this winter in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, was colder than that of in last year, the churches and church-affiliated fellowships thereenjoyed a rather warm and fervent atmosphere on Christmas. From 22th December, they began to hold Christmas Eve and Christmas thanksgiving worship services.
22 churches and church-affiliated fellowships held Christmas services which featured great diversity and variety in content and forms. They gave sermons, choral services, danced and sang, and recited verses. By doing these, it not only allowed brothers and sisters to deepen their understanding on God's grace and the mercy of sending His loved Son to save us, but also made seekers feel the joy and happiness of Christmas and the very reason why churches celebrate it.
The theme of Mingde Church's Christmas Thanksgiving service was "Peace, Joy, Kindness, and Hope" this year. In the four services from 24th to 25th, Rev. Fan Chenguang gave a sermon titled "Peaceful Christmas" and "Kind Christmas", while Rev. Li Qinfeng preached on "The Joyful Message", and Rev. Zhang Ling on "The Hope of Life". Rev. Fan Chenguang said that the Advent of Jesus was to bring peace and kindness to the world, and it would be good to see that each and every brother and sister whose life could live in peace and pass the love of the Lord, becoming the blessing of this era and the blessing of our city.
This year, all churches and church-affiliated fellowships in Urumqi had a peaceful, joyful and harmonious Christmas.
On the morning of 23th December, Dianshan Lake Church held a Christmas service in its newly-built Salvation Church in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province. Rev. Yu Huiqin gave a sermon on “Honor to God, and Peace to the People”, which urged each and every believer to give thanks to everything created by God, and be grateful especially for God’s grace in building the church in Dianshan Lake County. She encouraged the congregation to renew oneself and work together to serve God. In the afternoon, brothers and sisters from local church-affiliated fellowships gave performances to celebrate Christmas. On the evening of 24th December, waist drum was played joyfully and the choir performed three well-prepared hymns in the dazzling light of the candles. Rev. Wen Xingui quoted “The gate of Heaven was close once due to the ancestral sin, while the Son of God paves the path leading to blessing”, the poem by Kangxi Emperor from Qing Dynasty.
On the evening of 24th December, Thanksgiving Church in Hubei Province held Christmas Eve worship service. Nearly a thousand church members attended it.
Rev. Wang Yao'en from Thanksgiving Church presided over the choral service "Praise with My Heart". Rev. Zhu Zhiguo, President of Hubei committee of Three-self Patriotic Movement addressed Christmas speech to the congregation. Rev. Wang Zhenren, President of Zhongnan Theological Seminary shared the verses from Matthew 2:1-12 with the sermon themed "The Maji visited when Christ was Born". He exhorted brothers and sisters to crave for the truth wholeheartedly, seek for Christ and worship our Lord faithfully.
The Christmas Eve gala then kicked off and hosted by Fuwei and three other theological students. Among the shows, sketch "The Meaning of Christmas" was thought-provoking, which triggered deep thinking of the real center of Christmas and the real meaning behind; dancing performance "Hold My Hands" showcased the worship and reverence towards God; drama "The Garden of Eden" displayed God's unforsaken love. At last, chorus "My God, My Father and My Rock" by all the people both on and off stage became the climax of the gala.
Thanksgiving Church's 2018 Christmas Eve gala ended up with the praise and prayer from the congregation.