7:45am Friday School Assembly at our local Junior High School, Xian-Xiao, on Christmas Day ~ and we were there ~ in the rain ~ but YES, we were there!
Not only were we there, but we were all dressed up in our Christmas outfits, and all awake and smiling! Xian-Xiao (or Hsien-Hsiao) is a wonderful neighbour to us at St. John’s University and Advent Church ~ and we love ’em all very much, teachers, staff and children! They’re actually a branch of Zheng-De Junior High School 正德國中 in Tamsui, with one school principal, Mr. Lin, in charge of both ~ and yesterday he was there too, along with Mr. Tsai, the Chair of the Parents Association, both in Santa outfits, to greet us and the children, and give them all Christmas goodies!
Actually in charge of the Xian-Xiao campus is our good friend, Jasmine Yu. She has dedicated all her time and energy to turning Xian-Xiao around and getting it back on its feet again after years of decline. It’s now such a wonderful place to study – such a caring school, lovely staff and a great atmosphere. Some of the children move on eventually to study at St. John’s University (SJU), so unlike years ago when there was no contact between the 2 institutions and each was closed off completely to the other, now a well-trodden path exists between SJU and Xian-Xiao – saying welcome from each side! That’s how come I happen to go there to do a bit of English conversation with the children, and our church members go there to teach Champions Course (Life Values), plus some of their children come to our Saturday morning classes in the church to help them with the homework. Some of the children are actually members of Advent Church, and others we know from Sunday School and our summer camps ~ YES, WE LOVE ‘EM ALL!
So there we were, with 80 pupils aged 12-15, all in their sports uniforms (different colour for each year group – lime green, purple or blue!), about 20 staff and us ~ we sang and distributed bags of sweets and cards to everyone ~ and then down to their coffee bar to light the Advent wreath – and Rev. Lennon Chang shared with the principal about the meaning each of the 5 candles. We finished with Silent Night – a day late, but hey it’s such a special Christmas Carol, and so we wished everyone a very Merry Christmas!
Thank you Xian-Xiao for such a warm welcome ~ and for taking most of these photos!
A wonderful start to Christmas Day ~ and a great way to share with our good neighbours the real meaning and true joy of Christmas!