December 6th 2016 [Day 6]
“I am the light of the world, whoever follows me shall never walk in darkness but shall have the light of life”. John 8:12. So my story continues. I was in Gambia West Africa working. But if I’m honest I was running away from family, home, the UK, hopelessness and spiritualism. It was coming up to Christmas and despite running from family troubles, I missed my family especially at this Christmastime. So I asked a friend if he wanted to go to Church on Christmas eve just because it’s the done thing. Now, I’ll be absolutely honest with you, I was very open to God, but I didn’t know one Church from another! So we went for the obvious, and that is what I now know is called a high Anglican Church. Oh my if only I had known! Nevertheless I had an encounter with God which once I was born again and filled with the Holy Spirit of God did and still does impact my life.
This encounter was not an epiphany then but once I got saved it was a revelation. This is how it came about. The service to be honest was long and boring. It started with the carrying of the crib through the centre aisle of the congregation, with someone singing some kind of dirge. Then they were swinging incense balls all over the place continuing with the droning dirge. Then someone stood up in what I call the crow’s nest [a pulpit stuck about 8 foot high on a wall], they droned on and on like a honey bee in the height of summer. [BTW the sound of a honey bee was a 1000 times more enjoyable! LOL] and to be absolutely honest, it might just have well been a crow in that pulpit as far as I was concerned as I didn’t understand a word they said, and realized once saved why! He was speaking in Latin! Durr!!!!
Next we had Christmas carols. I thought “at last, something I enjoy!” But alas, it was not to be so, as they were sung with such jaw aching mournful lament, that one would have thought they were at a funeral not a Christmas carol service! This went on for nearly an hour and by then after 2 1/2 hours of this I was ready to scream. Then came the game finisher for me, they took what they called eucarist. I didn’t have a clue what they were on about until someone said “we’re now going to eat Christ’s body and drink his blood!” That was the last straw for me, I didn’t want to eat anyone’s body nor drink their blood, so I turned to my mate Steve and said, “you know what when Jesus comes back He isn’t going to like all this stuff! Come on I said, let’s go!” And we did! Very sadly we up and walked out!
Now you may think I’m being a bit hard and cynical here? But remember, here are 2 unsaved pagans looking for “something” at Christmas-time! The problem for me looking back was, they had the mass, but forgot to put Christ in it! It wasn’t CHRISTmas, but christMAS! Thankfully for me, 6 months later in June 1983 I met someone who had lived much the same life as I’d lived, but he got saved and was a true practicing Christian, born again and Spirit filled. He lead me to Christ and within weeks I encountered the Holy Spirit through baptism and Holy Spirit reminded me of the Christmas in Gambia. Holy Spirit then went on to begin teaching me about Christ’s return, His second advent which is what I sort of prophesied to myself on that Christmas eve 1982. So, how did I get saved that June in 83? What did Holy Spirit begin to teach me and what were my Christmases like after that? Well come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you.