Better late than never, I want to share a few thoughts about my first Christmas abroad.
Christmas in Congo approaches slowly. It comes in quiet and without panic. Christmas here is less commercial and more sacred.
The most important holiday tradition occurs on Christmas morning. There are neither stockings with candy nor toys beneath a tree, but rather, a reverent and holy church service. Each person attending the Christmas morning service (donning their very best attire, of course) comes with a gift for Jesus, an offering, which is left for Him by an altar. This present is usually a great sacrifice for the Congolese who have an abundance of nothing. But they give generously and joyfully.
Then a celebration begins. A time of worship with friends and family and the village at large. The university hosted Christine Moze, a professional singer from Uganda, to lead the community in a worship celebration honoring the birth of Christ. Wait. Rewind. Celebration hardly seems the appropriate word-choice. It was a jubilee, festival, fete, gala, jamboree.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the Retrospective…