Dear Five Oakers, I have way too much to share in one post so I'll start today and finish tomorrow. I'll just share EIGHT things with you today.
#1 - I can't believe how many people I've talked to that haven't yet picked up the Christmas CD. I'm telling you, it's really good. Listen to the whole thing here and decide for yourself (and download it you like). It's not too late to get it and enjoy it for this Christmas (or get as a stocking stuffer). Only $5. The only complaint I've heard is that it's only five songs and people want more!
#2 - One Starry Night was truly a great event! I had a blast playing a rabbi that asked kids if they knew the fifth of the 10 Commandments. I also asked the husbands why they allowed their wives to go out in public without a head covering. You know I love to scare kids, but the youngest were genuinely afraid of the thieves that lurked around the building. I kept telling them that I wasn't a crook and they didn't need to fear me.
#3 - Over 900 people came to One Starry Night and dozens more worked as actors, singers or behind the scenes. Jeni Carlson, Director of Family Ministries, wrote a post on the planning and process. Read it here. Here are some comments posted on Facebook:
- "...our family had a great time, and the level of immersion was impressive. This wasn't just a couple of stations with people standing in for nativity players, this was a bustling city complete with a marketplace. Well played, everyone, well played."
- "...there is no words that can describe the whole evening. We got there at 6pm, and intended on leaving, but ended up staying until after 8pm! WE all just loved it and just wanted to sit and take it all in!! Fabulous job and kudos to all!! We have THE most amazing church!
- "BEST Christmas event ever!!!"
Trying to keep all ages engaged!!!
#4 - This is from an email from "the old beggar woman":
I asked for "shekels for an old widow." Small children looked at me in wonder... Many children would hand me their entire bag of money! I would insist they only give me one coin, and then I would touch their hair or shoulder and say, "God Bless you sir/miss; God will do wonderful things for you." Most of the children would look very serious, and nod their heads, then move into the marketplace with their family. ...the astounding thing was that many kids on their way out of "Bethlehem" would stop back and give me all their leftover money, and wait for another "blessing." Not always little kids either, some around 10 or 12! I was touched by the tenderness of the children, and their generosity. Often the compassion on their faces took my breath away.
#5 - So many people and ministries came together to make this event run beautifully. The parking lot team moved hundreds of cars throughout the two hours. They moved cars into stalls from front to back and then repeated. It moved like clock work.
#6 - The live animals were a huge hit. Some kids didn't want to leave the animals. I told kids to look for the baby polar bear. If you saw him, you know what I mean.
#7 - The stable scene was unbelievable. Little kids were amazed by the baby Jesus. We had a very hard time finding wise men, so we settled......just kidding! Although one of the "wise men" did make the baby Jesus cry with his enthusiastic speech when he arrived at the stable. Way to go Tom Berg. (Okay, I must admit I made the baby Jesus cry earlier that evening. All I said was, "I hope he behaves better than he does at staff meetings when his mom brings him." I was just kidding, of course, but he cried as if on cue!)
#8 - I loved hearing the Fusion band all evening playing Christmas music. Some really interesting instruments and arrangements and a great ending. People tipped them (with real money) and the team when out to Applebees with Justin when it was all done.
So much more I could say about this event and the work our folks put into it. Thanks to all of you. God bless you,