Before I believed in Christ, I used to drink excessively on Christmas. The reason being, I felt I had to do something special for Christmas, but I didn’t know what to do. So my way of celebrating was drinking until I passed out! After I became a follower of Christ I stopped drinking, but I still had this feeling that I must do something different at Christmas time. And it was bad for me because it was almost an obsession. To escape it, I decided to treat Christmas just like any other day. So now, since I decided not to send Christmas cards, I don’t really feel like Christmas is coming or going until the day itself. Unfortunately, this has made me indifferent, not only to Christmas but to all holidays.
I have no regrets, however. Since my children are both grown, there is no need to do something special for them to help them have good holiday memories – they are making their own. Besides, I am convinced that the holiday “spirit” nowadays is dominated and pushed by card companies, chocolate manufacturers, and retailers motivated primarily by profit.
I do make an exception for New Years Day. I treat it as a special day because I feel it is necessary to close the old year and open the New Year with new resolutions.
As we celebrate the last Sunday service of the year, I think about some of the highlights of 2002 and the major tasks we face for 2003.
2002 was the year the House Church movement took root and blossomed in Korea. Many churches have been successfully transformed into house churches, and the very first House Church Seminar For Pastors was held this year. Seminars for lay people and house church conferences are now regularly held in Korea.
As for our own church, 2002 was a year of revival. This year we baptized 163 people in the Korean congregation. 46 people were baptized in New Life Fellowship. The youth department baptized another 19, for a total of 228 baptisms in 2002. Most of those baptized accepted Christ as their Lord after coming to our church.
The revival of NLF this year is also noteworthy. Their Sunday worship attendance passed 200 and they are clearly growing as a praying and serving church.
Other notable events in 2002 include the number of house churches and shepherds exceeding 100, the children’s department starting a Wednesday prayer meeting for children, and the fact that two deacons candidates are in their early 40s, which shows our leadership is getting younger.
The major task for 2003 is finding more spaces for education, worship and parking. We will soon have to decide whether to continue where we are or move to a new location. But this is a long-term consideration; regardless of the decision, we will have to stay here for at least two more years and utilize our existing facilities to the fullest. 2003 must be a year of willful sacrifice for old members as we seek to provide spaces for non-believers and new believers.
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