This year, I celebrated my first Christmas in Liberia! To get the kids into the spirit of the season, we in the Child Development Program taught a Christmas lesson—complete with stories, Christmas songs and even an art project! We talked about why we celebrate the holiday, about the significance of Christ’s birth and how thankful we are to God for sending us His Son. It was a beautiful reminder that all over the world, whether here in Liberia or back home in Canada and the US, people everywhere were celebrating Jesus and His glorious birth!

Then it was time to get to work and make some Christmas bundles! Each bundle contained a washcloth, a toothbrush, two pencils, some candy, a small toy and an apple (here in Liberia, the apple symbolizes a heart, so to give someone an apple is to say, ‘I love you.’) 

After that came Christmas deliveries, which was probably my favorite part! In addition to a bundle, each child received some new clothes, (there’s a pic of Deb and I fitting the kids for new outfits below) a new pair of slippers (ie, flip-flops), and a notebook with a letter from someone in America. I loved sitting with the kids, helping them read their letters, and watching their faces light up as they heard about people they had never met but who loved them and wanted them to have a wonderful Christmas. It was so personal, so intimate, and beautiful.

Of course, one of my favorite things about the holidays is spending time with those that I love. Whether it was swimming in a pool on Christmas Day (well, I was sick, so I ended up just watchingeveryone swim!), eating baked potatoes and playing dominoes with some friends, or worshiping during one of the most intensely and intimately beautiful Christmas Eve services ever, I was struck over and over again by how richly blessed I am.

I’m so thankful to have been able to truly celebrate this Christmas, in every sense of the word. The angel said, “Behold! I bring you good tidings of great joy!” What a reason to celebrate!

This holiday season, I’m thankful for the gift of joy, for the gift of friendship, for the gifts of smiles and laughter and hugs and tears. And even though I couldn’t be with you in person, I’m ohsothankful foryou. I know it’s a little late, but I’m going to say it anyway: MERRY CHRISTMAS to each of you! I hope it was your most joyous one yet.


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