In France, Christmas is relatively low key. Because we live in a so-called secular country, there is not the same religious build up. Lovely decorations go up and town councils have swapped to economic light bulbs; shops have beautiful windows; some houses are now decorated and lit up at night. But where is Jesus ??
The 3 main churches in Lamastre (Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical, but note that we are talking about an average of 40 people at each church service in a town of 2600!!) have got together to organise a joint Christian book stall in an empty shop right in the centre of town. Perfect! Our ladies got together to decorate the store fronts and now there are angels, and shepherds, wise men, manger scenes and bibles everywhere! People have been very admiring. Books seem to be getting sold also.
Pray that this will make the average non-church goer think about God for a bit and get curious.
Our Christmas celebration will be Sunday 11th December. Our teens have a big role to play this year with a half-hour comedy play on "who is the central figure in the Nativity play?", a couple of dances, organizing our Primary-age kids into a dance. We have formed a choir with 2 songs: one modern French praise song and one traditional Christmas carol (Good Christian Men Rejoice! translated into French last century!)
The French don't have many of their own religious Christmas songs and you hear all sorts of versions of our Anglo-Saxon ones in shopping centres.
Can you believe that the only reason our church has a service on Christmas Day this year is because the 25th falls on a Sunday!
Most French follow the Catholic tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve. Heard of midnight mass?
Please pray that at this time people will respond to our invitations to our celebration and to Christ's invitation to enter into their lives.