The Shilipu Church in Baoji, China's northern Shaanxi Province held a service on the third Sunday of Advent on December 13.
Though Christmas is approaching, there were only a few small Christmas trees flickering inside the store, without the normal noisy Christmas pop music.
The Shilipu Church, located in the newly developed commercial and tourist center of Baoji City, China’s northwestern Shaanxi Province, was full of worshippers every Sunday after having been newly renovated.
Three pastors gave sermons each Sunday for the three weeks before Christmas. A choir member said that they have been rehearsing for several weeks to prepare for Christmas.
On this Sunday morning, the churchgoers entered the sanctuary on the second floor following the COVID-19 protocols and seated themselves at a social distance due to the virus.
After the opening prayer from Brother Yao Chao, three church choirs sang the hymns Good News Song and Hallelujah.
The choir performed wonderfully, and the congregation applauded again and again. Then Elder Liu Xifeng gave a sermon on the signs of Christmas. Luke 2:1 says, "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. " Caesar was the first ruler of Rome, and the first census was taken for the purpose of recruiting for the army and collecting taxes, as well as showing his supremacy.
Proverbs 21:1 says," In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him." Because God is in charge of human history and his kingdom rules over all, his will can influence the king's decision. The decree brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Even Augustus didn't know the king of glory would be born in Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy in Micah 5:2.
The human savior was born in the manger, as the inn was full because the people needed to return to their hometowns to register. Luke 2:12 says, " This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Then, based on Luke 2:1-12, Elder Liu spent more than 40 minutes sharing on the sign of the new life (Luke 2:12); the sign of the incarnation (John 1:1-2), and the mark of the reconciliation between God and man (2 Corinthians 5:18). In the sermon Elder Liu described the birth of Jesus and said every Christian should keep in mind these three signs and prepare their heart to receive the Lord.
Next, the church will hold a Christmas Eve candlelight service, sacred music worship service and theatrical performances on Christmas evening. Christmas worship service will be held at each gathering site on Christmas.
(The article is originally published by Gospel Times.)
-Translated by Abigail Wu