Exploring Christmas In Jakarta
When the Christmas season arrives, its celebration dominates the commercial environments in some parts of Jakarta. It doesn’t take much to find the international and western expressions of Christmas throughout the malls and stores. You can find Christmas trees, Santa Claus, Frosty, snow globes, an home decorations within easy reach. If you look carefully, you might even find a nativity scene or two to purchase. All this sparks an interest about this holiday surrounding Isa. This is especially true in our international university village where I live.
Rather than only relying on the traditional church services, our church started searching for ways to introduce others to the story of Jesus through small intimate concerts. With the help of one of our church members who own a desert shop, we conducted an acoustic concert entitled “When He Came”. The intent is to provide a neutral venue where members of our congregation can invite their friends they are seeking to disciple and spark conversations about this incredible story of Jesus coming to earth.
The concert included traditional and original contemporary songs that would imagine what that first Christmas was like for who witnessed His coming. Video presentations and short dramas helped set the stage for the stories the songs would explain. Short intermissions gave the audience an opportunity to discuss what they were hearing and explore the stories further over their favorite dessert.
The entire audience included people from several countries beyond Indonesia. There were students and young professionals from places like the Philippines, Nepal, Malaysia, the US, Kenya, and Uganda. There were refuges from Afghanistan and Iran who also joined us. One member brought her mother, a committed Buddhist, who enjoyed the evening with us. Several of our members valued this approach as it helped them build relationships with their friends. Our team of artists were blessed to be a part of the evening. The warmth and interaction were an encouragement to us. Yet we still have much to explore and learn about creating environments that can spark meaningful conversations that lead to Isa. We hope to explore other approaches, such as open-mic nights where we can encourage development of the arts for engaging with our multi-national community in our corner of Jakarta.
Robert C. Bartz
Far East Broadcasting Company