Thobekile Ncube works for Tearfund’s country team in Zimbabwe, which is part of our South and East Africa cluster.
‘But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”’ (Luke 2:10)
Growing up, Christmas was always a production of sharing, laughter and joy! It started with the turning on of bright, flashing Christmas lights at the park, announcing it’s time to celebrate. The park was transformed, and stepping into it was like stepping into a magical land with games, carols under the stars and enough candy-floss to guarantee an upset stomach later (but it was always worth it).
Next would be a family church the service day before Christmas. The service would be a combination of carols, Christmas plays and sharing of food between families.
If you visited the rural areas, you’d go with bags and bags of presents for family and neighbours... and come back with bags and bags of gifts from family and neighbours.
Be it urban or rural areas, Christmas morning was an event every child looked forward to as it was the one time you were guaranteed a present. It might not be something new, but it would be new to you. If relatives suddenly showed up unexpectedly and there weren’t presents prepared for them, there would be an involuntary redistribution of presents so that everyone received something.
Then, on Christmas day, families would get together and eat. From sunrise to sunset. The eating was interspaced with dancing, laughing and heated debates to rework up the appetite.
How much of this still remains now varies from family to family, with Christmas being just another day for some families, but as we come up to celebrating this year, perhaps we can think about these two things:
- What can being joyful look like for you and your family/friends during a pandemic, or post a pandemic?
- What could including your neighbour – who might not have family or means – look like this year?