Jan Lukl – Czech
I would like to share with you a story that I experienced at a pre-Christmas party that my friend had invited me to.
The party took place on Saturday, December 9. My friend Pavel has been meeting with a group of families for years, with whom he organises various nature-trips. It’s a very diverse group of people and Pavel wanted me to tell them something about the meaning of Christmas and asked that I would make the talk interesting so that they would enjoy it.
It occurred to me that I could connect the Jewish holiday with the Christian one and celebrate Pesach, in the way that we do at Easter. In my preparation, I discovered that the Jews do not have such a parallel holiday at Christmas, but that they do celebrate Hanukkah – a holiday of lights! Of course, Christmas has its own connections with light as well and so here I found my connection. In my preparation, I also found that in New York, Christians and Jews are actually already celebrating in this way – coming together to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. They call it Chrismukkah!
So I had this idea. But when I arrived at the Christmas party and was introduced as a pastor, I was not received with much enthusiasm. The girl sitting next to me was told by her mother to cut short her Scout weekend in order to be at this party, and she wasn’t at all happy about this.
The man sitting opposite me declared that Jesus’ father was not his real father and thus he was a bastard! To say that our meeting did not start in a very friendly way would be an understatement! But I had about fifteen minutes to share something about hope, after which, there would be party games. I was praying a lot; and I must say that God made a Christmas miracle for me.
The fifteen minutes turned into three hours of talking about faith, with everyone asking questions and showing a genuine interest in learning more. The girl sitting next to me from the Scout weekend started talking about a friend from a summer camp who had also been speaking with her about having a personal relationship with Jesus!
At the end of the meeting, I was invited to join this group on their next trip to the countryside at the beginning of the new year. I am praying about this and am looking forward to the new things God will do in the lives of this group of people.