Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Ethiopia

Mr. McGoo and I were able to spend Christmas together in Ethiopia. Although the Ethiopian calendar does not have Christmas until about January 7th on our own calendar, our friends in Ethiopia went out of their way to make Mr. McGoo and I feel at home and give us the Ethiopian Christmas celebration of our dreams.

Saturday afternoon, we went to the Onesimus/The Forsaken Children Boys Halfway Home and were able to celebrate Christmas with the entire Onesimus staff, their spouses and children, and the halfway home boys and girls.

We gathered together and celebrated Christ's birth. They decorated for us, complete with a Christmas tree lit with lights and covered with ornaments and even candy canes that had been sent to Nega from other American friends (I had to explain what they were and how they relate to Christmas). The boys had practiced a program for us, put together by the ministry department of Onesimus. The program was wonderful: Desse led the program as a MC, we began with singing songs about Jesus, then Nebiyu read the Christmas story of Christ's birth to us and shared a message, the boys then put on a small drama about the birth of Jesus, we exchanged gifts, and then enjoyed a feast together! Mr. McGoo was given an opportunity to share with the children, and all the adults in the room why gifts are given at Christmas time. He posed the question first, "do you know why we give gifts to people on Christmas?" The children gave their guesses... one saying, "to show others that you love them".... which was the perfect lead in to share the truth. The truth of God's amazing gift to us, His son born as a man, to share and know our struggles, and ultimately give us the greatest gift of all, His death and payment for our sin.... John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

The feast was worthy for kings... every type of Ethiopian dish you can imagine... even fruit, colas, and a cake for Kelly and I, although the spelling of my name was off a bit (ha! Heather is VERY difficult for Ethiopians to say... that whole "th" thing really makes it hard). Overall the time was wonderful, spending it with people I truly love, and focusing on the reason for it all - JESUS, who is also the foundation of all the relationships at the festivities... brothers and sisters in Christ.

Here are some photos to share more about our Christmas in Ethiopia experience:

Sadly, I had to leave Ethiopia late that night... arriving to the airport about midnight to catch a 2:10am flight (didn't leave until 330am) out of Ethiopia. I was blessed however with a Christmas celebration with my fantastic husband and my dear friends. I miss them already, but am thankful that my hubby is still there for the next week and half loving on them along the way (even though I miss him too). Christmas in Ethiopia - I'd do it again.


Anonymous said...

I love this post! What a wonderful way to spend Christmas. The pictures make me happy.

Kelly said...

Awesome! The Ethiopians obviously love you guys just as much as you love them.

Karyn said...

WOW! You've got to LOVE that Ethiopian hospitality.
Looks like your gifts to the kids were VERY well recieved.
Best Christmas EVER, huh??