Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas...in PNG


The Sunday School children singing "Away in a Manger", and for the pidgin speakers, "Long Ples bilong Sipsip, na ol Bulmakau".

We have just enjoyed our third Christmas here in PNG. It seems much of the nostalgia around Christmas experienced in Canada is somehow stripped away here. The sun is far too hot and the culture far too removed from a Canadian Christmas. In fact, living here forces us to see Christmas festivities from another lens, maybe, a less glamorized, commercialized, and even sanitized end. We see it amidst poverty. We see it amidst people who probably have to go to their gardens on Christmas day to cover for their evening meal. We see it through the lens of people, many of whom can’t afford gifts for their children, let alone the bare essentials to be healthy during the season of Christmas. Reflecting on all of this, makes one realize that in many ways Christ came into a world much like this. There were colonies of lepers, there were the very poor that had no real national social blanket to fall back on, there were the sick and the lame immobilized and placed by the roadside for the next benevolent traveler. Sadly, in the West many don’t think they need Christ for they have much of what He came to do—“to preach good news to the poor…to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” And yet the truth is, both worlds--the West and the other, the North and the South, are in desperate need of this. They are in desperate need of the one thing that no money can buy, no insurance plan can cover, no festive experience can resurrect, and that is peace with God through Christ. We thank God that we know this peace and have opportunity to proclaim it to a hurting people. This is Christmas.

2 comments:

tom said...

Very moving..particularly after our Canadian/North American commercialized, materialistic, individualistic yet another Christmas.
Fortunately for many of us, we could also celebrate it in church and the quiet of our homes. But nothing like in PNG!
Blessings to all in 2008! Tom

JJS CARD N CRAFT said...

Hi there Ian,Nadia,Jonathon and Karlyn.
We have come back from travelling some 4.5 weeks driving around some of Australia and we were in Tasmania for Christmas celebrating with my sis and family. We drove across with 2 of Hilbert's other sis's and their families to attend a wedding of his nephew. My point i guess is that we were so richly blessed and privaledged to do this without accident or incident during this time. Christmas is a special time when we celebrate the 'birth of Jesus' and share precious times with our families. So we can fully appreciate your time spent among those who have yet to come to know "Him" and also those who have come to know the Lord through 'your work' among the people in Lae.
Ian and Nadia may you continue to be a blessing in Lae and we know too you cannot do this alone, but through God's grace alone.
We continue to pray for you all on the Mission Fields. All the best in this New Year 2008, we do not know what challenges etc God prepares for us but we do know God takes care of us wherever we are. Take care till next time. Hilbert & Jen