A highlight for me last week was also a lowlight. One stronghold over my life is underestimating my talent in music. I have been told that my voice is not as good as others and that my piano skills are not up to snuff. Both are true and I do not disagree but comparison is the enemy here. We all have talents. Some people call them gifts. I do other things better than sing and play but I found myself volunteering to lead a choir in a Christmas “presentation” in Biel last week. St Nicolaus was a Bishop who prayed for food and provision for families in a village during a famine. God answered that prayer and there was enough wheat in storage for the next two years (a bit like the provision through Joseph when his brothers sold him into slavery and God used the entire story to feed His people). God started telling the story of Jesus in Genesis and repeats it over and over again until Jesus comes into the world again. So in Switzerland, on December the sixth, St Nicolaus blesses the children. In our group some packed waxed bags with a bread roll shaped like a gingerbread boy and two chocolates. The bag had Christmas stickers and was tied with a bright red yarn tie. Others (me included) put up two fresh pine trees with a few lights, burlap bag tree skirt, and one gold poinsettia at the top. It was very cold. Rene dressed in costume – great beard – to assist Saint Nicolaus, dressed in full bishop regalia of red velvet with, sort of, a crown and staff, in passing out the treats. The children recited a poem in German then received the gift and a blessing. We kept busy and then time to sing on the steps in the cold. MaryAlice had stoked the fire she built and it was getting hard to read the songbooks I had prepared in the dark so cell phones came out – so modern for a bunch of 50+. We lifted up Jesus with songs like; Joy to the World, Away in the Manger, Oh du, Feliz Navidad, Rudolf, Drummer Boy, Silent Night, and others. We used multiple languages because this city is a melting pot. It was beautiful and the effort of my friends made it so. Lowlight was I like to lead but this is not my forte. Dissension was over song selection, music range, which songs were too “worldly”, that I was too serious…not happy campers. I now appreciate how difficult it is for our leaders to guide people who have many years of experience and that we are sometimes not as teachable as the younger people. The result was a joyful, unified presentation of the gospel. My highlight was two women from Syria who began to dance to the music about Jesus. One held a cigarette in hand, one’s child knocked over one of the Christmas trees, but they smiled and danced. I’ll never forget the humbling experience that not everyone wants to follow me but who cares. Our goal was to say follow Jesus. Ministry is not designed to be easy but to be worth it. So what do the Swiss do on December 25th? I’ll find out soon!