Volume. XXII, No. 26
Sunday, 23 December 2007

From The Pastors Heart: Another Christmas

The famous Orchard Road was filled with Christmas decorations when I visited Singapore only a few weeks ago.  The street was full of people and ice cream vendors.  There were so many decorations attracting the eyes of visitors like me.  Lights were bright and all the symbols of Christmas stories were displayed on the street.  I was asked to take some photos with them.  Shops were busy with shoppers, and cafes were full of people.  Adelaide is obviously far behind Singapore as far as Christmas ornaments are concerned.  However, I have seen brochures for Christmas dinner bookings since July in Adelaide.  It seems that everybody is waiting for Christmas whatever their reasons are.  I am not planning to talk about Christmas or Christmas spirit per se.  Instead, I’d like to think about those whose spirit is not cheered by this season.  Rather, Christmas season is a season of sadness and loneliness to them.  Maybe my talk today will be too personal.  However, I cannot but talk about what I am thinking about. 


I just read a story about a man who has a son in Primary 4.  His wife passed away only a couple of years ago.  His son received an award for his writing skills from his school and proudly presented the certificate of his award to him.  This man was very touched and proud of his son.  The first thought that came into his mind was his wife who had spent so much time with her son in love and affection.  She had taught him to write.  Though she is not on earth anymore, her son continues to write.  This man misses his late wife especially around this time of the year.  How many of us are sad in this Christmas season because of our late spouses?  Personally, I am thinking of my father who has lost his wife nearly 32 years ago.  I have seen him tearful in secret.  He misses her so dearly.  I remember how fond he was of my mother.  Whenever he was free, he cooked for her and made a cup of coffee for her.  There is nothing that can fill his empty heart.  Amongst us, how many people are thinking of their loved ones who are not with them any more?  There are people who have lost their children.  There are people who have lost their parents or grandparents this year.  While everyone else celebrates and parties, they are sad and grieving.  There are young people amongst us who are not able to go home during this Christmas time and miss their families very much.  I remember one Christmas day when I had to eat a dinner alone in a restaurant.  All other tables were surrounded by families and loved ones, but I was alone.  It was a very strange feeling to be alone on Christmas day. 

Christmas celebration should not be self-serving or self-indulging.  It should be a time of caring, caring for those who are lonely and grieving.  God the Father sent His only Son to this world, which was the origin of our celebration of His incarnation.  Christmas was an act of giving, rather than enjoying or indulging.  If we look around, we should be able to find people with whom we may share Christmas joy together.  When we have a Christmas family dinner, I wonder how good it would be if we take in someone/s to be the adopted member/s of our families? I have heard from different individuals about their Australian parents.  When they came over to Australia to study, some kind and gracious senior figures took them in as if they were their own children.  Whenever there was a special event or occasion, they invited them for those special functions.  Such relationships have been continued for the last few years or decades for some people.  Well, then it is more than right for them to do the same things to others.  If we have received love and care from others, we owe the same things to those who may need our attention around this time of the year.  Would you like to have someone to your Christmas dinner or celebration?  Would you like to call someone to show your love and concern during this time of celebration? 


When I went to the States to study as an overseas student, everything was very strange to me.  The language barrier was high and thick, and there were cultural shocks in many areas.  My roommate, Mark, was thoughtful and kind.  He invited me to visit his family in Wisconsin for Christmas holidays.  At first I was hesitant because I did not want to be a burden to them.  However, his invitation was very cordial, and his parents called me to come.  With a thankful heart, I traveled all the way from Greenville, South Carolina, to Racine, Wisconsin.  It was a cold winter, and I was not sure what to expect.  On Christmas day, the family prepared a gift even for me.  I was very thankful.  On the following day, my roommate’s parents took Mark and me to a nearby shopping center.  Right after Christmas day, there was a huge sale going on.  They bought two typewriters for me and Mark.  In those days, computers were out of reach from commoners like me.  I needed a typewriter for class work but could not afford to buy one.  They knew how much I needed it and bought one for me.  I was a foreign student and obviously stranger to them.  But they were godly Christians and took me into their loving hearts.  When I received that typewriter, I, though I was already a grown up man nearly thirty years old, wept like a little baby.  Winter in Wisconsin was very cold.  If snow came down, it really came down.  The road was slippery, and everywhere was white with snow.  On that day, I had a very special Christmas.  They opened their hearts widely for me and showed their love for me in such a sacrificial way.  My roommate’s parents were not rich.  His father had been retired from his work for some time and had been working as a clean up crew for a local school.  He earned small amount of pocket money from this job.  He withdrew some cash from his account and bought me a typewriter.  I do not recall exactly how much it cost him, but it was probably around U$190.  I am talking about an incident happened nearly 20 years ago.  Since that time on, I called them my mum and dad in America.  They have shown me their love without ceasing.  They took my wife and children into their hearts, too.  Wherever we went to, they regularly called us and sent us their love gifts for our missionary works.  Dad went to be with the Lord a few years ago, and mum followed him on the 7th of this month.  They had prayed for us and sacrificed themselves for us.  They were the one of many precious ones in my life who have taught me about the meaning of Christmas.


Have you bought gifts for your children, siblings, parents, or friends for this Christmas?  I am glad you did.  Thank the Lord that He has given you such loving spirit for your loved ones and abilities to buy gifts.  But, is that all for your Christmas?  Would you meditate the following passage for a moment?  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:34).  What have you done for the lonely, the grieving ones, and the sick during this Christmas season?  Have you thought of someone who may not have what you have and enjoy?  If we love those who love us, then what is love after all?  If we care for only those who care for us, then what is the meaning of care?  As someone has been kind to us, so we ought to be kind to others.  It is my prayer and hope that at least all of us will not have selfish Christmas.  As the magi worshipped the Lord Jesus, opened their treasures, and presented their gifts to Him, so let us do the same thing.  Let us open our treasures whatever they are and share them with somebody who may need our loving hands.  You are not planning to make your Christmas selfish, are you?  I wish you a truly meaningful and blessed Christmas!



Your Pastor

More Lively Hope




Ps Ki & Session members wish all worshippers a very Blessed Christmas. Please invite family members & friends to celebrate Christmas with us on Tue, 25 Dec.

Adult & Junior RPGs for Jan - Mar 2008 available on the literature table.

Please note: Light Fellowship lunch Next Lord’s Day.

Farewell to Sis Juanita Tong who leaves for Perth tomorrow.

Men’s Fellowship: No meeting this month.

Christmas Concert CD available for $5. Please see Sis Sally Teng or fill in the order sheet available on the literature table.

Flower Roster 2008 - Volunteers required. If interested, please put your name on the list on the notice board.


Looking ahead:

Watch Night Service on Mon, 31 Dec, at 7:30 pm. Please come & share.

Sixth Missions Cambodia: 15-30 Jan 2008.

Family Bible Camp at Victor Harbor: 24-26 April 2008. Speaker: Bro David Weng.


Praise and thanksgiving:

Journey mercies: Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Perth); National B-P Youth campers (Melb, Perth, Syd); The de Vries family (The Netherlands); Bros Jason Tan & You Wen Yeap; Sisters Joyce Chen, Tabitha Heah & Clara Sim (S’pore); Smrithi George & Shilsha Ninian (Bangalore); & Gillian Ong (Adl); & all others who arrived safely.

Church activities: Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study, & YAF Christmas Carolling in Fullarton neighbourhood.

Safe delivery - healthy 2.78 kg boy for Bro Surish & Sis Phengvanh (Laos), Thurs, 20 Dec.

Answered prayers: heavy rain over last few days.


Prayer items:

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Sylvia White & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Ebenezer & Hope BPCs.

Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family - encouragement.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim.

Journey Mercies - Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & family (Adl); Sisters Joyce Gong & Juanita Tong (Perth); & others travelling over the summer vacation.

Jobs - Bro Daniel Volvricht; Sis Juanita Tong.

God’s guidance - Sis Juanita Tong as she settles in Perth.

The Lord’s provision for a new church van and floor coverings for our Sunday School rooms.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041