Celebrating Christmas At The Simalungun Batak Church

JAKARTA - The Christmas season, which returns to close the year, always makes a special impression for me as a Christian. Starting with invitations for Christmas events from other churches, it has been fulfilling since the beginning of December. But all of this is different from the real Christmas eve and Christmas atmosphere.

As a child born and raised in the Batak tribe, especially the Simalungun, of course worshiping in a tribal church has become an obligation every year. When I was a child, I didn't often attend Christmas services because Sunday school services were not held on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, when I grew up to become a teenager to adulthood, I then followed the main worship service of the GKPS Salemba congregation.

On Christmas Eve, we will worship starting at six in the afternoon. The road that is already jammed plus our church, GKPS Salemba is located in front of the Layur Public Cemetery (TPU) which is definitely busy making the streets even more crowded.

After worshiping, we greeted our fellow worshipers and went out to the food line. Bakmi Siantar is always chosen to be our church Christmas Eve dinner. With noodles filled with pork chunks and dumplings in soup, it's always a delicious meal to eat with friends.

Christmas atmosphere at Simalungun Church (Tarida Angelina / VOI)

On December 25 yesterday, we left early for Christmas worship considering that there is only one worship schedule for Christmas, which is 9.30 am. When we arrived, several policemen were already standing in front of the fence watching the proceedings.

The Christmas service in church is like a weekly worship procession. The procession begins with the leadership of the congregation board called porhanger together with the pastor and liturgical leader entering the worship room. Then, the pastor lights a candle as a symbol of Advent to welcome Christ's coming.

We also sing Christmas carols in the Batak Simalungun language, one of which is Sonang Ni Borngin Nai, namely Holy Night and I Bethlehem Do Body, namely in Bethlehem has been born. Most of the songs sung are the songs in the Song of the Congregation book.

The topic of worship at Christmas is also about the birth of the Lord Jesus, namely from the verses of Luke 2: 8-14. The birth of the Lord Jesus, which is a symbol of peace and hope for mankind. It was first reported by the angels, that the Lord Jesus was born in a lowly manger. However, the birth of the Lord Jesus does not depend on our will, but His will.

The last verse of this reading material, Luke 2:14, says: Glory to God in the highest place and peace on earth among men that please Him. The verse tells us that all of this is simply going back according to God's will to make us live.

After the service, we spent the Holy Communion eating bread and drinking wine. This happens once every three months. However, holy communion is always held every Christmas. All congregants can participate in the Holy Communion procession, but only those who have volunteered can eat bread and wine. The Holy Communion program is the closing ceremony of the Christmas Day worship procession at GKPS Salemba.

After that, we walked to greet the pastor and congregation who were in charge of the Christmas service that day. After that, outside the worship room, dozens of small plates were presented consisting of snacks such as cakes, pastels, risols, as well as home-made cakes and donuts for the congregation who had just finished worshiping. The congregation who was in charge of the Christmas service that day brought various cakes to be divided into several parts so that all the congregations who came to the party.

Although Christmas services are not festive and the same as services in general, this Christmas service always leaves a warm impression on me personally. And it is clear that this celebration means the shady, serene, and joyful birth of the Lord Jesus.