One of the things I enjoy most about Christmas is seeing how it is observed around the world. And although we have different traditions, the celebration is always for the same reason. In our country in South East Asia, we have a tradition that I wish we could carry over to America (although, honestly, we are too busy as Americans to pull it off). All of the small churches in a community get together and plan out a schedule for Christmas parties. One village church will take one day, another the day after, and so on. Then all of the churches go and visit the others' parties. The parties involve the usual things of singing, reading the Christmas story and sharing a meal together. In the village (where life can be pretty slow) this is a big thing and many times the entire village will come out. Also, because there are so many small house churches, this means that the Christmas season goes on for about a month and parties can sometimes happen after Christmas.
Last year we were able to partner with the house church in the village where our coffee farm is. They provided the food, work and planning and we helped them rent a tent so that people sat underneath it and out of the sunshine. The party was a huge hit and everyone from the village came, including the village leader. The village leader, who is not a Christian, saw what was going on and enjoyed himself so much that he said that the church could operate under his protection in the village, and if they wanted to pursue becoming legalized he would try to help. It was a huge moment for the Christians in that village.
Fast forward to this year and the church is in the process of that legalization. Hopefully all of the paperwork will be finished by the time we return and we will be able to help our friends in the village build a church building where a new church is planted. Please be in prayer for this year's Christmas party in our village. It will happen on January 1st (I told you they sometimes happen after Christmas). Please pray that it will be another time where people can hear the Gospel and that it will open doors in that village.