Thursday, 6 December 2012

Winding down for Christmas

In South Africa, Christmas starts appearing in shops in October (like in many countries), where they can't decide whether to put up tinsel and santas, or halloween stuff, or both! But what's different here compared to the UK, is that Christmas is right in the middle of the summer holidays. This has a profound affect on the church and missional community. Naturally many missionaries travel back home for this season, but others (including us this year) won't be leaving but staying. So, whilst the number in the church and Christian activities increase back home during December (the 'busy month'), things are winding down here, with the congregation thinning out and bit-by-bit people stop activities until the New Year.

I went to try and get my car fixed on the 3rd December, only to be told that "it's Christmas" and things are "too busy" to add any extra work on now. "It's not us," said the mechanic pridefully, "it's the suppliers. We can't get the parts, everyone's out of stock. Bring it back in January."
We work in a seaside location (Muizenberg) where many of the houses are let to missionaries and short term workers for 10 months of the year. Many YWAM families have to vacate their property for December and January to make room for the owners to come and holiday here. The YWAM campus will be closed from the 15th December for about three weeks. This means that there are several people who are left in somewhat limbo: in temporary accommodation and outside of the usual setup (no staff meetings, regular fellowship cancelled etc).

In that regard we've decided that a Christmas with just a toddler will be quite depressing. We're opening our house on the 25th December to friends who want to join us to make a wider 'family' Christmas celebration. It will be a different kind of Christmas than the usual, and may involve a barbecue, rather than a roast dinner, let's see!

Wherever you find yourself this Christmas, may God guide you and comfort you and show you what it was He did by sending His Son to be our Saviour. A great reason to celebrate.

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