Wednesday, December 22, 2004

More Holiday Updates

First Light performed last night at the Alamo Recreational Center in Austin, at the Operation Christmas Gift giveaway. It went very well and the small rec center was packed (it has a capacity of 50 - 75 and I would say it was definitely maxed out) with young children and their parents.

There was an introduction and a scripture and prayer (in English and Spanish, one of the church brothers acted as an interpreter). A group of young girl cheerleaders from a school (whose name I didn't catch) came forward and did a couple of cheer routines. Then First Light performed "Joy to The World" (mostly acapella; our band's leader played guitar and sang with us). There was an 8-minute video presentation about Operation Christmas Gift before First Light came forward and did three more songs (which were well-received by the audience).

Then came the preaching of the gospel by one of the associate ministers from our church. He started by calling the young cheerleaders to the front and asked to lead them in a cheer by spelling out "J" then "E" then "S-U-S." The cheerleaders gleefully complied and it was both cute and inspirational. It also set the stage, so to speak, for the preaching, which was also interpreted into Spanish.

First Light was called upon to sing the invitation song ("Just As I Am") and then to play music as the gifts were distributed to the children. Afterwards, the children got goody bags with cookies and candy.

It's always a joy to see happy children's faces at Christmastime, especially since without this effort, some (maybe most) of these children might not have gotten any presents. But the most important thing is not the gifts, it's the love behind the giving -- and that would not have been possible without the love of Christ that's in the hearts of all those who participated in this effort.

And a final IR tie-in: there were children of different nationalities there. We even sat next to an IR couple (Black man, Hispanic or possibly mixed- woman) and their 4 or 5 mixed race children. My oldest son befriended one of their sons and two of their other children befriended one of the other bandmembers (who has two Hispanic-Black biracial sons herself).

The whole event was a lot of fun and truly accomplished something worthy by evening's end. I'm proud to share it with you all.

Best Christmas Wishes,

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