Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Festival of Lights

Last night was supposed to be the kick-off of the Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) in Lyon, an annual five-day celebration of the Virgin Mary, who--according to local legend, saved the people of Lyon from the plague in 1643. Mary is greatly esteemed--venerated--worshiped in Lyon. I have already gotten into deep conversations with people about Mary--she seems much more popular than Jesus in this city. But contrary to popular belief, Mary can't save them.

Following the Paris terrorist attacks, all of France has been on high alert. Therefore, for security reasons, the festival of lights was reduced to a one night event. High on the plateau above our apartment, the words #Merci Marie (Thank You, Mary with a hashtag!) were glowing in blue lights next to the Notre Dame Basilica.

The town also sought to honor the fallen victims of the Paris attack by inviting residents to place candles in their windows as a sign of solidarity. This gave a lovely glow to each building. In the photo they look like Christmas lights, but those are all actually candles.

David and Chandler and I went out to wander our neighborhood--which hosts the Festival of Lights. Food vendors and musicians were out in full force! We treated ourselves to hot spiced wine and (for the first time in our lives!) roasted chestnuts!

A band played outside of our window until midnight--it's a good thing we enjoy being in the heart of the action.

A coalition of local churches came together to hand out free Bibles in the neighborhood during the festivities. Each Bible contained a flyer for an outreach event that our church plant is hosting in January. Please pray that those who took Bibles would have their hearts and their minds opened to the Gospel. Pray that they would join us on January 29th to learn more about Jesus and his love for the world.

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