The 16th city is El Paso.
The Abraham Chavez theater in El Paso held the first ever Christmas Cantata from this year. Family and friends hurried into to the theater in expectation from 5pm. As the hot and dry weather of the desert cooled with light drops of rain, some people dressed in neat coats also appeared. Moreover, many people who could not see the performance due to full house at the 2500 seat theater stood lingering around the entrance for a while and returning in the end. Among them, there was a couple that was eager to see the performance and unable to turn back easily.
“I know we’re late but…isn’t there a way we could get inside?”
“I’m sorry. Very Sorry. But the seats are full.”
“I got late waiting for a friend but my daughter’s inside.”
There was a small talk with the two wistful people in the theater. Their names were Adda and Navid. The gospel preached to them through the stories of the birth of Jesus in the Cantata, life between family members etc. The couple didn’t have a particular religion but they confessed that they contemplate on life whenever they are in difficulty.
“There are times when a day goes by without much pleasure. Sometimes I think to myself about the meaning of life after the kids go to school.”
Adda and Navid weren’t able to enter into the performance hall but they were happy at the Cantata Photo Book that the journalist gave them as a gift.
“I would like to return next year and see it for myself!”
On one hand, the 1st stage had already begun and applause and cheers poured out from the audience after each scene. Unfortunately, the face expressions of the citizens inside and outside of the theater were split between happiness and sadness. The faces of the people exiting the performance hall after the end of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd stage were extremely joyful. One middle-aged blonde lady beckoned the journalist and spoke in a low, elderly but sincere voice as if confessing. She praised the Gracias Choir with expressions such as “Fantastic!” and “You’re perfect.”
Mrs. Shannon who came to today’s performance hand-in-hand with her grandchildren said the Christmas Cantata had overwhelmed her and gave unstinted praise such as, “Awesome!” and “Beautiful.” Moreover, she bought a coffee table book (Gracias Photo Book) for her son’s couple who couldn’t come today because of their twin babies saying, “I must give this to them.”
“The 1st stage especially took me on a time travel to that era in Bethlehem. It cannot be expressed in words. When Jesus was born, it felt like I was there at the stable at that time. We are really people who need Jesus but we have forgotten that Jesus in our lives. He spoke so that it is easy to accept Jesus in our hearts! I’m very grateful to all of you for having come to El Paso!”
Pastor Gregory who had attended the Christian Leader’s Meeting and the Cantata performance readily responded to the interview. He quoted Pastor Ock Soo Park’s message saying, “People live their lives looking at themselves, but today Pastor Ock Soo Park said we should not look at ourselves. He said we should only look at the works of God. He especially explained the meaning of what Jesus had come to this earth to do. The message that Jesus had taken away our sins was also inside the 1st stage. It was so amazing how the birth of Jesus had been expressed. Everyone needs to come to this performance and listen to the Words of the Pastor.”
As the old Western America was pioneered, God’s love shown through the Christmas Cantata performance hit hard on the hearts of the Western citizens. Especially, the citizens of El Paso all stood up today in standing ovation, wistful after the end of the performance, and touched by the birth of Jesus. It was a moment of revival of the long lost Christian mind that founded America. Tomorrow, the performance opens at the high land of Albuquerque (New Mexico).