Voices of the Faithful

This devotional of stories from missionaries all over the world has two editions. The following comes from the 2nd.

Christmas Every Sunday

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

“We knew our first Christmas in Uganda would be celebrated differently, but we were shocked at how different. Where were the Christmas carols and the special Christmas services in the churches? Worship on Sundays during December was just like all other Sundays. The same Ugandan praise songs with many repeated verses, testimonials, greetings, and sermons were present, but all with no mention of the advent of Christ.

‘But Lord,’ I complained, ‘how can they not sing carols? How can they celebrate Christmas without singing Silent Night or sharing from Luke 2 or hanging red and green decorations?’ But they did! Mamas with babies on their backs, men, and children worshipped God with eyes closed, hands lifted in praise, and faces tilted upward with sweet smiles of adoration for their God. The Ugandans were celebrating the birth of Christ every Sunday. Christmas wasn’t defined by expensive pageants, huge Christmas gift exchanges, or even cherished traditions. It was focused joy in Christ. The ravages of war, HIV/AIDS, life in refugee camps, poverty, disease, and a short life span had taught believers the indescribable Gift given to them in Jesus. As I experienced worship with our Ugandan brothers and sisters, I was challenged to focus on Jesus, the Savior of the world.” – Claudia, Sub-Saharan Africa

This Christmas is going to look different than most. I get to celebrate Christmas until mid-January when we are finally able to visit my family. And although I can get sad when I think about not being with my entire family on actual Christmas Day, I must remember that that has NOTHING to do with why I am actually celebrating, why I am actually joy-filled this Christmas season. 

One thought on “Voices of the Faithful

  1. Our first Christmas in Saudi Arabia was different. It is against the law to worship anyone other than Allah so we had no outside decorations and there was absolutely no sign of Christmas in any store, restaurant or mall. I soon realized that this was a good thing for you Sam at age 3 since I could really make it all about Jesus and our family celebrating Him.

    I really wanted a tree though and so I bought green paper and was going to make a tree and tape it to the wall so we could make decorations and decorate it. Then I found out that the British family that lived next door to us was leaving Saudi and had an artificial Christmas tree! The lady said they just brought it in with them when they move to Saudi and that customs must not have known what it was so they let them keep it. She also said she would sell it to me for 100 riyals, ($25). I bought it sight unseen. As you and I unwrapped it I could tell it was in horrible condition. But I did not say anything and then you helped me put it together. We stood side by side and just looked at it. I with a sinking heart, until I looked at you. I can still see the look on your face. You looked as if you were gazing at the most beautiful thing you had ever seen! It was 6 feet tall and matted with lots of old icicles so it was pretty big and sparkly to 3 year old you! All I know is my heart filled up as I looked at you and I was so thankful to our Lord for His provision of that tree! We had so much fun making all of the decorations that year.

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