Before Shanghai Community Church started the Christmas Eve service on December 24, 2019, long queues had formed at the entrance to the most influential Protestant church in Shanghai.
It was said that a line there began at 3 pm and as of 5:30 pm, the entire queue was some hundred meters long. The police and church volunteers were stationed at certain intervals to keep order.
Arriving late, I had to be in the chapel instead of the main hall to attend the special ceremony.
During the worship music time, the congregation recalled the process of Jesus' birth through the solemn and sacred worship that was primarily Bible reading and singing eleven carols.
Drawn from Matthew 1:18-25, a sermon focused on the main theme of Christmas - how Jesus Christ came into the world.
Owing to the church being overcrowded, some believers joined in the worship on the lawn outside. A huge electronic screen was placed in the courtyard. Many participants took out their smartphones and recorded the special moments.
Established by Americans living in China in 1920, the original Community Church met in a small house. Five years later, a new larger interdenominational church was built. Boasting the largest foreign attendance, the church has received many prestigious foreign figures, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, and Nobel laureate Rev. Desmond Tutu.
- Translated by Karen Luo