Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve in Havirov

My eyes filled with tears as Dave spoke tonight at the outdoor Christmas Eve program in Havirov, the city we first lived in when we moved to the Czech Republic eighteen years ago.

The town square was full of people despite the rain that steadily fell.

Since most Czechs have their celebration on Christmas Eve, they are done by 10 PM and free to come into the center of town for one last moment to enjoy the holiday.

All the churches in Havirov work together to put on this special Christmas program for the city, filled with music, readings and a message which Dave had the privilege of bringing this year.

Sensing that people are more contemplative about their lives due to Vaclav Havel's death just a week ago, Dave wove him into his message. When he first mentioned Havel's name, people broke out into spontaneous applause!

Using Havel's famous saying, "Truth and love must triumph over lies and hatred" as a springboard, he talked about the ultimate way to triumph over lies and hatred - the saving power of Jesus Christ.

There was literally a hush in the crowd, and the rain stopped, for the minutes that Dave spoke. It was like time stood still as he shared the timeless message of Christ with the people of a city that we have cared about for many years.

For the first time in all the years Dave has given Christmas Eve messages, he felt freedom to lead the crowd in a prayer of repentance and faith in Jesus. He didn't ask for hands to be raised, or for anyone to come forward. He simply asked them to close their eyes and repeat after him in the quiet of their own heart.

We may never know if anyone crossed over from death to life, into a personal relationship with Christ. But I sure prayed that there would be someone who did as we stood there in the drizzle that started again as he was finishing his prayer!

It was too wet to have the camera out, but Caleb captured this shot on his phone as Dave spoke. I'm glad he did. It reminds me of that holy, precious moment tonight when the people of Havirov heard the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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