University of North Florida’s main auditorium, Fine Arts Center

The fifteenth center where the Gracias Choir went was the last city in Florida, Jacksonville. Jacksonville has the largest population in Florida, and during the summer it is extremely hot and during the winter it has a very warm and cosy weather.

People in long lines waiting to see the Cantata

The Cantata happened at the Fine Arts Center in the University of North Florida. Jacksonville held two performances during the day and the first performance was to a full house and the second performance also attracted many audiences as well.

 “We came to see the performance~”

“Merry Christmas Jacksonville! You are not upset because we are having Christmas in October instead of December right?” With the greeting of Pastor Terry Henderson the Christmas Cantata began.

Volunteers preparing for the Christmas Cantata in Jacksonville

The image of the persecuted Israelites 2000 years ago was like the image of the modern people, thinking without any peace ‘I need to do well,’ and ‘I should not make any mistakes.’ In that hopeless Bethlehem Jesus was born. Although the situation was the same before and after the birth of Jesus everything was completely different. “Noel, Noel, born is the king of Israel,” the audience couldn’t stop themselves who were so overwhelmed as they gave a great round of applause.

 Gracias Choir’s Orchestra preparation

2000 years ago, to the scene of the persecution of Israelites

Shepherd announcing the birth of Jesus through the trumpet

“In every street the people have indulged in the Christmas which came to them once again, from children to the elderly their laughter does not end.” The hearts of the audience ached as Anna stood alone in the streets singing Silver Bell in the beautiful atmosphere of Christmas. There was no place for Anna to place her heart amongt many people who seemed so happy. But there was the warm home and Anna’s parents that was waiting for her. As the audience watched Anna realizing the heart of her parents they were also able to get the warm sense of Christmas.

“Did you enjoy it?” Pastor Ahn from Good News LA Church greeted the audience and started his Christmas message.

Romans 3:23-24

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

The audience bowing their heads to pray along with Pastor Ahn

“I have the heart that through this Christmas Cantata Jesus will be born inside of many people’s heart. Because Jesus wants to be born in our hearts he continually knocks on it. When I think about many people who will respond by opening their hearts to Jesus, I am very happy.”

Gracias Choir before the third stage

 

Holy Night

Silent Night

Bravo!!!

Encore!

Karen

“I came to see the Cantata for the third time, and whenever I come to see it, it is very beautiful and amazing. During the second stage, Anna felt happy then sad then happy again, and as Anna longed for her family and felt lonely, that made me think a lot about my family also.” – Karen

Auguilar’s Family who come every year to see the Cantata as a family event

“The Cantata is truly an amazing and professional performance. The way in which the Gracias Choir laid out the story of Jesus through the performance was really great. The chorus of the Choir in the end was so good that I sang along until the end. every year I come to the Cantata here in Jacksonville, it has now become my family’s tradition to come to the Cantata.” – Auguilar’s Family

Grant who wishes to participate in IYF activities

“I received a ticket as they were promoting the Cantata in front of my university. I was actually wondering whether or not I should volunteer, but I decided to simply watch the performance and see how well they express the mind of Jesus through such performance. To be honest I came to the performance with a heart like “let’s see how well you perform,’ but after seeing the performance my heart changed completely. Especially “Holy Night,” the soprano seemed very young but how was she able to make such a sound? I think she was more skilled then the professionals. During the message time it was precisely preached that although we were sinners only through Christ one could receive salvation. The pastor distinguished clearly between sin and salvation. I could completely agree with the fact that salvation only comes through Jesus, rather than us keeping the ten commandments or living a generous life. I won’t forget today’s performance. I usually don’t cry when I see a performance but today I was tearing up. I usually never buy music CDs but I purchased the Cantata’s CD. I want to know more about the IYF and participate also in the activities.” – Grant

Citizens partaking in donation after the Cantata

Audience listening carefully to the word

 Audience applauding as they listen to the word

The choir which sings with the most beautiful voice. The reason why they’re voice is most beautiful is because God is with them. The Christmas Cantata Tour team that God abides with is now off to Atlanta.

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