We learned this year that even though we may not be able to celebrate like we’re used to, we were able to appreciate the season in ways we were never able to before. For example, our church here may not practice advent or sing any carols, but the spirit of Christmas was not lacking. Our church, Sinai, runs one of CBM's vulnerable children’s projects (Jireh) that works with kids and youth who are forced by their economic situations to work on the streets. The kids from this program wanted to share a message of hope so they put together a drama about “Christ the good shepherd” and invited the whole community to come and watch. Afterwards, we shared hot chocolate and local fruit cake while the church members met and mingled with the community. There were no advent candles, but there was love and belonging.
Another thing we’ve realized is that being home among family and in our comfort zones can allow us to overlook those around us who feel left out of the season. Feeling distant from our loved ones made us reflect on those in our community who were also far from family and planning to spend Christmas alone. We started by inviting one friend over to spend the holiday with us; however, as word got out that we were welcoming people who were solo for Christmas, the numbers started to grow. On Christmas day, we had a full house with Canada, the US, Ireland, Germany, and Bolivia represented around our table. We brought food from our traditions, exchanged gifts and celebrated together with friends and strangers alike. This was not the Christmas we were expecting, but it was greater than we could have hoped for.
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” ~ Colossians 3:14