Last night I witnessed the phenomenon of a major Ladies’ Event at PBC – called Extreme Makeover. Around 7.30pm, about 350 ladies arrived at the church which had been transformed into a twinkling Christmas scene – lights and Christmas trees everywhere, candles in every nook and cranny, outside, inside, and everywhere in between. As the ladies arrived, they chatted in the foyer while they enjoyed a glass of hot mulled punch. Then we were seated around tables in the sanctuary which, too, had been transformed into what seemed like a busy restaurant as ladies sat down at their tables and were served by the men of the church – dressed as waiters, tuxedos and all:-)
Throughout the course of the evening, we watched the unfolding of a drama. A lady was on ‘stage’, disheveled and discouraged by the thought of all she had to do before Christmas. She was sitting in her ‘living room’ which was in a similar state of disrepair. As she wallowed in her despair, a friend called to visit – and she initiated a series of events which led to the complete makeover of both the lady and her living room.
Ladies arrived on stage to do all kinds of things: one made a beautiful Christmas wreath; another made a table decoration; another put her (amazing) creative skills to work by preparing some floral centrepieces; another set to work on the table which she set with great elegance in the course of the evening; another wrapped presents in unique and beautiful ways; another made cinnamon cookies which could be used as Christmas decorations.
The ‘curtains closed’ for the interval, during which we were treated to some lovely Christmas music.
As the curtains opened after the interval…….the whole stage had been transformed into a beautifully decorated, cosy room ready to welcome any number of Christmas guests – and the lady, of course, had also had her own makeover and was looking relaxed, beautiful and extremely elegant.
The evening drew to a close with a short talk by one of the PBC ladies who shared with us the real meaning of Christmas – Jesus coming to earth to redeem us, to rescue us, to allow us to begin over again. She talked about the Christmas shoe boxes which children in El Salvador (and lots of other countries of the world) receive at Christmas time. Sometimes they are so taken with the pretty box and ribbons that they think that is the gift – how sad if they were not to open it! Similarly, she said, how tragic if we were not to open the gift which God gives us at Christmas time – the gift of His one and only Son, Jesus.
As she finished, we had one last solo – a beautiful prayer of blessing on us all.
It was an amazing, enjoyable evening. But one of the most amazing things for me, as I witnessed my very first ladies’ event of such magnitude at PBC, was to see the army of women (and not a few men!) who worked together to make this event happen. From those who baked the shortbread, to those who made the punch, not forgetting all those who laid tables and prepared the food and drinks to go on them, everyone who wrapped gifts for the tables, all those who made table decorations – not to mention all the other decorations, both inside and outside, and of course the actresses and narrator of the play, the musicians and soloists, as well as all those behind the scenes like the men who worked the sound system, took videos, etc, etc, etc.
There were obviously many, many people involved in the preparations, the event itself, and the clearing up afterwards. That was amazing enough – that all those people were prepared to give all that time to put on an event for the women of our community. But what was perhaps even more amazing was that I never heard a grumble or a complaint – everyone worked together with harmony and yes! with sheer joy!
Isn’t that one of the gifts of the church? That Christ has given us brothers and sisters with whom we learn to relate in the bad times as well as the good (in the times we need makeovers of all kinds in our lives as well as the calmer, healthier, happier times) – and with these brothers and sisters we learn to work together, each one using the gifts which God has given them, for the common good.