Angelica in Kenya decorates her Cypress tree with animals.
Christmas in Kenya
Last year, I celebrated Christmas with my grandniece Angelica in Kenya. Angelica is four years old and for her, it is not “Santa” but “Father Christmas,” as it is for most kids in Kenya. Days before Christmas, Angelica attended a children’s concert where she participated in a tableau as an angel. She also helped with the crib, adding dog and cat figurines to it.
She loves her real Cypress Chrismas tree and helps to decorate it with all types of animals.
On Christmas Eve, she knows that Father Christmas will be coming at midnight to give her a gift, so she goes to bed early. On Christmas morning, she finds a small doll and is quite happy with that as her parents have told her that Father Christmas has so many children to give gifts to.
‘This is for you’
I have learned so much from my grandchildren. One Christmas, when my grandson Seth was two, I anticipated that he would enjoy opening presents, but figured that clothing would make the most practical gift choice for him. Towards the end of the lively exchange, after receiving a lot of clothing, Seth solemnly started to give his presents away saying, “This is for you.” We smiled at his generosity, and understood once again that giving is for the giver, not for the receiver.
Spirit of giving
This Christmas, our family wants to give more than we receive. We don’t have much ourselves but we try to help others as much as we can, anytime we can.
We are going to donate to the toy drive. We help others by shovelling snow and fixing snowmobiles. We also go caroling with our church to lift people’s spirits and comfort the people who are alone during the Christmas season.
In the summer, we sell vegetables that we grow in our garden. It’s a good way to meet new people in our community.
This year, for the first time, we will make snow angels in front of our church and spray them to attract more kids and adults to our church. It only has 17 people.
Also, we take good care of our pets. We have three cats, two dogs, one hamster and one turtle. We feed and clean them, lots and lots, we make sure our pets are happy and healthy all the time.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
The lion and the lamb
Several years ago, when my oldest child was about 18 months old, he opened one present before we went to church on Christmas Eve. It was a toy lion, which he wanted to take to church with him. Earlier that day, at the afternoon children’s service, our priest had handed out wooden animals for the creche to children as they arrived. Then, at the Christmas Eve service, she asked the children to bring up their animals and place them in the creche. When she said, “Would everyone who has an animal please bring it up and put it in the creche now,”our son looked at us, looked at his lion, and promptly walked to the front of the church and put the lion into the creche.
After the laughter died down, the service continued. At the end of the service, the priest asked if we could leave the lion there for the later service. At that service, she told the story of why there was a lion in the creche, and also talked about the promise of Christ’s arrival-that the lion would lie down with the lamb.
From a child’s innocent offering to a poignant theological point!
Sharing with others
As a child, Christmas to me is spending time with my nan and pop celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, who is our redeemer, and also spending time with family and friends. I also think about those children who have no family and those children in other countries who are so unfortunate, who have no food on their tables and maybe no shoes on their feet, no roof over their heads. Then I think how fortunate we are. I’m planning for a good Christmas this year and sharing anything I can with others.
St. John’s, Nfld.