In Memory of My First Christmas: to Be A Serious Christian
By CCD contributor: Li Daonan, December 28, 2018 09:12 AM
For a long time has Christmas been celebrated everywhere in China. But my first Christmas happened in 2005. It was the day that I was baptized.
I went to a university in a city in southern Jiangsu province. I took to it after I found that it had been a Christian university, for I was interested in Christianity and had been in contact with it for years.
My friend who is a Christian came along with me to the campus and after I registered, he took me to a church next to the campus. The church, dating back to the late Qing Dynasty, had been restored as a religious place from 2003, after years of being taken over by other organizations since 1949.
Since that first day, I have spent almost all my Fridays and Sundays of my entire campus time in the church. Sometimes, I attended the Bible classes on weekday evenings. I have a lot of happy memories from being at the church.
I made friends there. The one who impressed me the most was a girl who came to Suzhou for a job after her resignation in Changzhou. She told us about the changes that had happened to her after her conversion when she witnessed God at the front of the church. Another optimistic girl also impressed me. Except for my classmates, the church members were the only people I knew at that time. They are still alive in my memory until now.
Because of my enthusiasm, I was elected as one of the team leaders in the youth fellowship. The fellowship, led by a woman graduate from a seminary, was very active and had many university students join it. There were often sparks flying as differing ideas collided and different voices debated but also laughter and joy. Other than my dormitory room, it was my favorite place to be.
Before Christmas, I took part in the baptismal class. Every Sunday morning before the worship there were lessons for those preparing for baptism. Every Sunday, I sat in the first row listening to pastors speaking about the church and the Bible.
I passed the baptismal test and got ready for baptism. I was serious about my faith and about the church, and I still am.
During the Christmas program, the youth fellowship performed a drama called "The Story of Ruth", to present Ruth's story in the Bible on stage. I played Elimelech, the father-in-law of Ruth. It was my first acting role on stage and I was very nervous. Once I stepped onto the stage I immediately died after the voice-over said, "then Naomi's husband strangles Elimelech". After that I hurried off. My part lasted only one minute but I tried my best to act it out.
Besides acting, I was also an usher helping with directing the crowd, guiding people out through the gate. It was sweaty, but I enjoyed it.
After eight o'clock, I substituted in as Santa Claus, as the original person had another matter to deal with. I felt very happy once I put the costume on and carried a big sack full of candies standing at the entrance of the church. Children stretched out their hands for candies and hugs, while couples asked for photos to be taken with me. Carrying a sack and giving out candies filled me with happiness, feeling the harmony between people and enjoying their warm greeting.
After the show ended at 10 pm, I helped with various follow-up things such as sending gifts to the guards in the parking lot and cleaning up the church with members of the fellowship. I returned to the dormitory at 1 am in the morning. It is my first time to go to bed that late.
On the Sunday after Christmas, I was baptized. From that time on, my identity had changed. For me, to be a Christian is to be burdened with responsibilities as well as to be salt and light. Such a substantial responsibility makes me feel real.
Although thirteen years have passed since that Christmas, my enthusiasm for my faith has changed little. However, now I think of more about things because I am more serious and care more about my faith.
-Translated by Lin Changfeng
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