By Michelle Moore
The holidays are different here. Where I come from, the word “Christmas” has many attachments to it. Of course, at the core, it means the celebration of God’s Son coming into the world, but it’s often wrapped in layers. It’s a time when friends and family get together. A time for colder weather (possibly even snow), decorations, twinkle lights, carols, music, holiday movies, church programs, shopping, presents, and seeing Santas in malls. Obviously all of these “outer-layered” things don’t make up the core of Christmas, but they make sure that no one forgets the “Christmas season.”
Like I said, here in Papua New Guinea, things are different. Not bad, just different. Sure, there are guys who might dress up like Santa briefly, but it’s amazing that they don’t pass out from heat stroke. Stores around town put up Christmas decorations, lights, and one store even has a 7-foot, dancing Santa robot (which I try to avoid if I can). There are some church programs with a few carols included, yet holiday movies happen only when one has the movie (since many people don’t have TVs). Unless you’re in the highlands, colder weather isn’t expected, and many of us missionaries don’t get family time unless its over email or Skype.
Here’s what we do have though. Christmas may not be all “up in our faces” from Black Friday until the end of the year, but that gives us the opportunity to see the core of Christmas easier: that Jesus came into the world and gave us the choice to live again. We see those around us as priceless friends and part of the family of God. We cherish many people, customs, etc. (here and far away) so that time with them is made precious. In summary, we look for the hidden blessings and praise God for them. Through this busy season, I pray that your eyes see the Glory of God and His blessings as well.
Michelle is a short term assistant serving through literacy.