It was hard being thirteen years old, but that Christmas a Swedish lady in my church taught the girls my age to make wreaths from fresh evergreen branches. I loved making them so much that I scrounged the mountain I lived on to make more.
Life moved on, and I forgot about it until moving to Japan as a missionary. After asking the neighbors for the trimmings from their evergreen bushes, I decorated our little church with evergreen wreaths. People snuck close to the church to get a better look.
This started me on the yearly tradition of teaching wreath-making classes each Christmas for the last 35 years! I still love to make them. Telling people about Jesus while smelling the fresh branches brings me joy. The best part of all is that God has used this to start many of them on the journey to meet him personally!
During each class, I make my way around to sit beside each person and make sure their wreath is going ok and have a personal chat with them. Then before I teach how to decorate, I share what God has taught me afresh about his coming this year.
In a recent class, the person beside me enthusiastically nodded her head to the message. I remembered back to the first time she ever came. Making a wreath was just about make a decoration that the neighbors didn’t have. Now, though she isn’t a Christian yet, she longs to hear the message.
Another who came tonight snuck in a bit of her testimony as she gave her self introduction. “I am still a baby Christian, but I came to wreath-making five years ago, and through that started coming to church, and I met Jesus!” Last Saturday she gave the message at the children’s Christmas outreach. Next Thursday she will bring her hair dresser to Christmas cooking class. And on Friday she will share her Christmas story with the high school students who come to English cafe.
One Swedish lady’s teaching a Sunday school girl to make a wreath almost 50 years ago is still being used by God to call people to himself.
Please pray that those who have heard the message in a wreath class this year will connect to church and other Christians so they can hear more about Jesus.
By Ruth, an OMF Missionary