Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)
TITLE: Chang Chang's Hope
By Jenny Fulton
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As the bell rang, Chang Change gave a dejected sigh and put her test away. The teacher stopped her on her way out, berating her for not trying harder and admonishing her to study more. The disappointed girl simply lowered her head and nodded an affirmation that she would perform better next time. She then left to find her friends among the throng of chattering high school students.
The friends lamented and tried to console each other about their grades, and then decided on a time to try to get together over the weekend to study.
Chang Chang’s driver soon came, and with a “Ming tian jian,” she left to face her parents. At least, she thought as they drove along, we’re going to a concert tonight so they won’t be able to act upset all night.
It was December 20th, the Christmas Season for all the foreigners in China. Here and there in various shops, Chang Chang could see the foreign influence of the season. Lights and garland decorated many places and some employees even wore the red and white Santa hats. Light-hearted upbeat tunes occasionally drifted in through the car windows. Chang Chang sank farther down in her seat. She didn’t know what this concert would include, but she wasn’t sure she was in the mood to face a night filled with an empty, happy fairytale.
A couple of hours later, Chang Chang walked into a festively decorated performance hall. Though her parents had been as disappointed as she had expected, they now talked animatedly with the foreign business partners who had invited them. Still not in the greatest of moods, Chang Chang played her role as the model daughter to perfection.
Once seated, Chang Chang looked around in wonder at the various pictures and scenes – a wooden thing filled with hay, a bunch of people with wings and shining clothes, a bright star, a wooden cross…nothing like she had seen in the stores and nothing that made any sense.
The program began and a now very curious Chang Chang leaned forward in her seat. It was introduced by two high school students, one who appeared to be of western origin, and the other who appeared to be of Chinese descent. They said that this concert was to remember and celebrate the gift of God – a baby named Jesus.
Songs were sung by children and students of all ages, the lyrics shown in Chinese on a large screen. A video with Chinese commentary was played. The two students at the beginning continued to introduced and transition the concert from one scene to the next.
As the night came to a close, everyone who had participated surrounded the hall and began to sing.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room…
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow…
Something had begun to change inside of Chang Chang at the first song. Now, with the final song, she was beginning to realize the greater importance of all she had been hearing. A God had, for no other reason than love, given a great gift to people. This God hadn’t required human success from his son or demanded it from his followers. This Jesus had come to give and to love, expecting nothing, but giving everything.
Tears once again threatened to make themselves known. This time, however, she let them fall. They were no longer tears of disappointment and frustration, but tears of joy and of hope.
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