Merry Christmas 2017 – Celebrating Christ’s Birth with Christians from Indonesia

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His Name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest:
and the LORD God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David.
Luke 1:30-32

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2017!

I hope your holiday season is filled with much joy and blessings.

This Christmas I traveled to Asia to spend the holiday with my twin brother, his wife and son, and a close friend from The Philippines.

We booked a trip to Bali, Indonesia for the Christmas holiday.

Bali is a lovely area. The beaches are beautiful, the hotels are reasonable and the people are very friendly.

On Christmas Eve we searched for a local Catholic Church to attend for the celebration of Christ’s birth. We had a few options. We decided to attend Gereja Katolik Maria Bunda Segala Bangsa Catholic Church for mass on Christmas Eve.

We took a taxi from the resort to within a couple blocks of the Catholic church.  The traffic was at a standstill so we saw a few women in heels and dresses and decided to follow them and walk the remaining two blocks to the church.

When we arrived at Maria Bunda Church the parking lot was filled with cars and people.  There were also several locals sitting around outside the local businesses watching the Christians file into the church.

Outside the church a security post was set up.  It was a tent that you had to pass through to get into the church.  There were several security guards in the street.  There were several in the parking lot and at least ten more security guards around the security tent.  These brave men were checking purses, bags and clothing of everyone before they entered the church.

This is a very dangerous job.  We have seen several attacks at churches in Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria in the last few years at these checkpoints outside the church.

This is an unfortunate necessity at Christian churches in several  countries today.

We arrived 15 minutes early and the main church was already filled up so we were shuffled to the church basement.  The parish set up a big screen live feed of the service upstairs.  People continued to file in and filled up the basement so they opened a third level below the basement to seat several hundred more Christians who came out to attend the mass.

The service was in Indonesian so we were completely lost on the words but not the message.  The Christmas songs were familiar but also in Indonesian – “Silent Night”, “Joy to the World”, and “Oh Holy Night.”  We sang in English.  The parishioners were welcoming and reached out to us during the service.

It was clear that most of the people attending the service were not as fortunate as their counterparts in the West.  But their faith was alive and their courage was remarkable.

It was a wonderful experience. It made us all realize how very fortunate we are. What a blessing for Christmas 2017.

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Have a wonderful New Year.

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