It is impossible to be in Australia in the months of November and December, sometimes even in October, and not be aware that Christmas is coming. The shops are decked with decorations and filled with items to decorate your own home. Christmas trees go up, along with lights and any number of other so-called Christmas decorations like reindeer, elves and icicles. Nativity scenes also appear, though maybe not as many as we would like to see. “Christmas music” is played everywhere we go. Santa makes his appearance for photos with children and families. There are homes decorated with lights for us to see in the evening. We have outdoor carols held in many places and televised for those unable to get to the actual event. Let’s not forget the food…I can almost see you smile as you think of your favourite Christmas fare! There are adverts everywhere that leave us unable to hide from the fact that Christmas is upon us. For some of us we may even tire of all the “hype” and commercialisation of Christmas but it means that even those who do not celebrate Christmas are aware that the celebration is taking place.
What does Christmas look like in Tabora? It looks like any other day. There are no decorations, music, adverts, lights, trees…there is nothing to clue you into the advent season. In an area that is populated mostly by Muslims there is little to no awareness that Christmas is looming nor of what the Christmas celebration is about. Earlier this month the birthday of Mohammed was celebrated with a holiday, but few are aware that the celebration of Jesus’ birth is fast approaching. This is a stark reminder of the task that is before us and makes how we celebrate Christmas important. We will have a celebration lunch with our workers and their families after attending church and then in the evening we will be showing the film Magdalena for those from the community who would like to attend. Please pray with us that people will be open to hearing the message of Christmas and that it would give us further opportunities to share the gospel with individuals, families and groups. We pray that you would be captured again by the wonder of the birth of our Saviour during this Christmas season.