We had a great time at the Live Nativity at Living Hope Church in Vancouver. You can get a introduction in this YouTube video: They did 13 services, packing the building each time. Attendance totaled 14,000 . Close to 1800 made decisions for Jesus, John Bishop, the pastor and my friend, reported. It highlighted Curley the Camel, (pictures here), Danny the donkey, three selfish goats, sheep, a cow, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus (yes, live), shepherds, wise men and all the rest.
When I hear of this level of response to accept Jesus, Iâ€™m a bit suspicious. I do hail from Missouri, after all. We were there Thursday night, the night before Christmas Eve. The place was packed before the 7 pm start time. The show was amazing even if Danny the Donkey kept kicking the floor, much to Johnâ€™s frustration (turned out he just wanted some attention). The close came to think of the nails that would pierce the babyâ€™s hands and John gave the invitation to pray with him. I wondered what would happen. I was astounded to hear many voices around me praying the prayer aloud along with John. I looked and there was quite a variety of people, young and old, traditional and hip. They were encouraged to stop by the welcome table and pick up a special Bible with a â€œwhatâ€™s nextâ€ packet. There were people all over who were ready to talk with those who prayed.
Sherry and Cyndee needed to stop by the restroom, so I was standing beside the wall of the food court (Living Hope met in Vancouver Mall, by the way). As I was watching people, I noticed a twenty something woman nearby. When I looked back a bit later, I noticed that she was pulling something out of her bag. It was one of the Living Hope Bibles. So I went over to her and asked if sheâ€™d been at the service. The smile erupted, â€œO, wasnâ€™t it wonderful!â€ I asked about the Bible and if sheâ€™d come in contact with Jesus. Her smile grew bigger. â€œNo, I did that last year,â€ she laughed. â€œI got the Bible for my Dad. Heâ€™s the most stubborn man in the world and heâ€™s there right now trying to figure out if he can receive Jesus!â€ As we talked her boyfriend came out. He came from a strong Christian home but her home had no religion of any kind. We talked of her conversion in the 2009 Nativity service and her deep desire that her Dad would come in. I asked if we could pray and they were delighted. So I prayed for the stubborn Dad as I expressed my joy for the change in her life. I didnâ€™t pray for my skepticism, but probably I should have.