Heri ya Krismasi na Mwaka Mpya!*
I’m sending late Christmas greetings this year because I wanted to share how we celebrated Christmas this year… and OH what a celebration!
Four villages churches joined together for a full day of rejoicing. Choirs and children began preparing songs and memory verses months in advance. There were special meetings to plan food and transportation. Families pooled their funds together so some could have new outfits. Christmas is a BIG day for everyone!
Finally the day arrived!
5am- Cow is slaughtered and ladies of the host church begin meal preparations.
8:30- The people from two churches climb into trucks to start the journey to Kitongo.
10:00- A last minute tarp is hoisted up for the children to meet under (since the cooks at 5am started their cooking fires under the original tarp! J)
10:30- People begin arriving, waiting for the 3rd truck- people from Igekemaja.
11:00- Still waiting. Lots of fellowshiping.
11:30- Started the service, can’t keep waiting. Congregational singing, choirs from each church sing two songs. Children recite scripture passages and the books of the Bible.
12:30pm- 3rd truck arrives as Pastor John begins preaching. Mariamu and I teach the children ages 8 and younger under the tarp.
1:15 Service is over. Choirs take turns singing while waiting for the cooks to finish.
2:00- FOOD! Rice, beans, and chunks of beef. (Bring your own spoon if you’re not sure how to eat rice with your hands!)
3:00- More fellowshiping. J
4:00- People head out to meet their trucks for the journey home.
Who’s to say one must have Christmas lights, candy canes, and Santa sitting at the mall to celebrate Christmas? Yes, there are times that I miss our American Christmas culture. I start playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving! But I’m also enjoying the freedom we have here from commercialism and materialism. Simple is good. One big celebration to rejoice in our Savior’s birth… what else do you need?
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord.” Lk.2:11
*Swahili translation: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!