Giving of gifts at Christmas is common around the world. Food is even more common at Christmas, but done in a variety of ways. For example, we slaughtered a cow and had 250 people over for Christmas Eve lunch in 1991. The chai servers carried around 5-gallon buckets and dipped from there into the cups of our African neighbors pleasantly visiting in groups all over our yard. It was a costly meal (though the cow was free – ask me how), but the goodwill and trust built that day worth far more. The church is now a strong presence in that area.
The celebrations that occur at Christmas have other similarities. Dec 24, 25 and 26 are the most common days for families to gather and for churches to meet. Decorations are done, with nativity scenes common. In Pakistan, the crib is an important decoration, and in more populous Christian areas of Pakistan there is a star on each roof.
But other Christmas traditions seem quite different. Venezuela does fireworks. The Coptic Church in Egypt celebrates Christmas on January 7th. In Germany the children write letters to “das Christkind’ and put the letters on the windowsill. Dancing is done in Puerto Rico and Pakistan, though I’m not sure if it is before or after the meal! I even saw once an electric Santa singing the Yellow Rose of Texas outside an African department store.
Much of the information given here is research done by Nicaeli Theobald. She is our global impact intern this year, and is doing a great job. Have a look at the attachment for her findings, including the website that describes Christmas in 80 countries. As you do, notice how the most inescapable message of Christmas is CHRIST.
Even countries that have few Christians likely acknowledge Christmas Day as a global holiday. As you read through the list of countries on the website, remember to pray for the message of Christ’s birth to reach more hearts all around the world. Pray for the churches and families that will invite friends and neighbors for a church service, a meal, a cow roast, fireworks, or to dance. After all, it is Good News for ALL people that a Savior was born.
Join us this weekend for one of our long standing traditions, Christmas Eve Services. Details.
Til next year, Dan