The fourth Christmas blessing that my Lord gave to me:
At Concordia Middle School, 7th grade (also known as Junior 1) through 11th grade (also known as Senior 2), have a couple of intra-grade competitions. One of these is the Christmas song contest. For this competition each classes needs to select a conductor, a pianist, and two songs to sing for the judges. One of the songs needs to be a Christmas song, and other needs to be a religious song. Everyone in the class participates, and they spend over a month preparing to sing.
This year on Wednesday December 23rd, Concordia Middle School had Christmas Worship in the morning from 8:00-9:30. Then from 10:00-12:00, the 7th grade and 9th grade students had their competitions, in the Luther Chapel and Auditorium respectively. After a break for lunch the 10th and 11th graders had their performances in the auditorium, while the 8th graders sang in the chapel.
I absolutely love to listen to their songs. While 80% of the songs are sung in Chinese, there are some English ones and even a Taiwanese song or two. Over the years I have developed several personal favorites of mine, and have even learned the words to a handful of them. It brings such joy to my heart, hearing the students sing praises to God. In addition, it is something they will always remember, and I pray God will use the words of those songs to impact their lives and help them know more about who he is.
1. Pray that God would use these songs as means to help the students of Concordia Middle School know about him.
Want to listen? Check out a video from Youtube.
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The fifth Christmas blessing that my Lord gave to me:
Bright, Glowing Trees
The second intra-grade level Christmas competition that the students have at CMS is the Christmas tree contest. This time, 7th-11th graders are each given a tree or shrub on the main part of campus. They then need to decorate their tree to show a Bible story or Biblical theme. Some of the stories created this year include Jonah, the parable of the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, Noah’s Ark, Jesus Turns Water into Wine, and Revelation. The students are required to make the tree and decorations using recycled products like boxes, paper, and drink boxes or bottles. Students are judged on their creativity, content, appearance, and use of recycled goods. Like their Christmas songs, they spend weeks preparing for the contest.
On the day of the Christmas song competition the students go outside and decorate in the morning or afternoon, depending when their grade is singing. At night all of the trees are lit, and students are able to stay at school until evening to finish decorating, eat dinner as a class, and see the trees at night. The school leaves the trees decorated on campus for a couple of days and lights them for a few hours every evening. Each Christmas I take a little time to walk around the trees at night. I take in the beautiful scenery, appreciate my students’ hard work and pray for them.
1. Please pray that the students understand the message in their Bible stories, and that God would use these stories and trees to help the students know more about him.
The sixth Christmas blessing that my Lord gave to me:
6 Former Students
In the previous two updates, I shared the joy of students decorating trees and singing songs. I know I touched on it a little bit, but it is something the students really cherish and enjoy. Over the years teaching, I have had many students write about how Christmas is their favorite time of year here at CMS.
This even carries over past their graduation, into their college years. This year, I was blessed to see 6 of my former students at CMS during the Christmas celebration. Two of them attended the Senior High Song Competition, and the other four I saw while I was watching students setting up their Christmas trees.
For all of the students I was able to quickly catch-up with them about how their college experiences are going. We also talked about Christmas here at CMS, and they all reflected how important it was for them and how they wanted to return to see trees or listen to songs.
One of the students, Jason, even came all the way from Taipei just for the afternoon. He had one class on that Wednesday, and decided to skip it at travel down to Chia-Yi. The trip is 3 hours by bus or 1 hour by bullet train. He arrived in the afternoon then had to get up the next morning to return for his Thursday classes, but he talked about how this was the way he wanted to celebrate Christmas.
This really touched me, and helped reinforce the impact of Christmas celebration here in Taiwan. What a blessing it is that Jason wanted to continue celebrating Christmas into college, and that he wanted to do so with the Christmas Trees that show Bible stories, and songs that praise Jesus.
1. Pray that God will continue to work in the lives of all of these students: Jenny, Sam, Terry, Jackal, Peter, and Jason. That the message of Christmas will sink into their hearts and create faith in the Savior.
2. Praise God that they were able to make it back to CMS and that I was able to see them, if even for a brief amount of time.
-6 former students
-Bright, glowing trees
-Lost Son Skit
-Water and Word
-Messiah on Christmas Eve