From December 20th to 21st, OC Europe and UK members held a joint Christmas retreat. The opening service was delivered by P. Joao from Matthew 1, bringing great hope to everyone.
Matthew 1 is about the genealogy of Jesus Christ. P. Joao told members: “When we look at the genealogy, there are Rahab, Tamar, Bathsheba, etc. They are not very good holy people, most of them have stains, but God accomplished his work through such a group of people, this is the mercy of God that works through sinners. Through them, the history of God advanced and Jesus came. We should know that God is the one who does not look at our weakness and stains, but he looks at our hearts. As long as we are willing to be used by him, he can open a great history through us.”
Throughout the retreat, 3 Bible lectures were given on the topic of “Christ, Light of the World”. Additionally, prayer meetings, a Zion festival and game time took place.
On the morning of Sunday, the Christmas retreat concluded with a message from Luck 2:8-14 and Luke 15:11-24, encouraging members to meditate the meaning of Jesus’ coming.
Christmas is a joyful time because of Jesus’ coming, for it indicates how much God loves us. God created the heaven and the earth, he prepared everything for men, investing his heart and love. But man fell and turned against God, therefore a hole is in man’s heart and nothing can fill it except God’s love. However, God didn’t abandon us as we abandoned him, so he sent his only son to save us even though we don’t deserve it at all. Jesus went to the houses of sinners regardless of others’ accusations in the Gospel, he came to this world us.
P.Andrew said: “We are like the prodigal son who wants to be separated from the Father and go his own way. As we can see in the Bible, the life without father is miserable. However, when the son came back, the father was so happy and gave all good things to the lost son. For us, many times we fix our eyes on worldly things rather than our heavenly father, but nothing can replace the love of Father who sent his son to find us back. So we should return to our Father with a heart of true repentance. Father is waiting for us, ‘But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him'(Luck 15:20), this is Father’s heart. ”
After service, P. Joao called members to pray for South America OC, and then all members took photos together. The retreat was full of grace, hope everyone can remember God’s words and think about the coming of Christ, be reborn again and again in God’s love.