Bairnsdale Church members shared a mid year Christmas celebration with their community, complete with great music, food and gift bags.  And the sharing continues, as a number of people showed interest in learning more about the Bible as a result.

On Saturday evening the 15th July a wonderful celebration of Christmas happened in Bairnsdale. Around one hundred people (about half of whom were not Adventists) joined in a unique sharing of the Good News.

Yes, it was July, but the true Christmas spirit can be enjoyed all year round. As people arrived outside, they were met by a real wood-burning warm fire with “shepherds” were warming themselves, waiting for the angels to announce the birth of Baby Jesus.  A couple of lively lambs added authenticity to the scene and their antics were enjoyed by the children. Everyone was given a gift bag containing delicious edibles and interesting material about Christianity.

Once inside Pastor Andrew Wilson welcomed the people before handing over to internationally known singer Gavin Chatelier.  He was joined by his wife, Trudy, and Grace, the youngest of their seven children. Not only did we sing carols together but we heard some of Gavin’s own Christmas song compositions. Interspersed throughout by Bible readings of the well-loved Christmas story, presented by our young people.

The children enjoyed their own story of unselfish gift giving told by Marilyn Beveridge.

The room was decorated by a large living Christmas tree which looked somewhat bare when we arrived.  We soon found out who was to enjoy decorating it – just about all of us!  When we arrived we’d been given cards with different words for a decoration.  From angel to star, heart to love, gold and silver; all meant something important.

As Gavin sang songs with these significant “decoration” words included, groups of us went up and placed our contribution on the tree.  When it was completed the tree looked beautiful.

As at all Christmas parties food was a feature and the tables were laden with a wonderful supper. When this happy time together drew to a close we went home, having had the “cockles of our hearts” warmed by the fellowship of a memorable “Christmas in July”.

The gift bags we had handed out included an invitation to join in a Bible study and four people have since indicated they want to do this.  Praise God.

Judy Walker