First I replied that most of them travel, if possible, to spend time with extended family and enjoy those relationships. There is no expectation around gifts that cannot be afforded, but a few extra dishes for the Christmas meal turns it into a family feast.
But then I commented that many of our African friends, with a heart for those poorer than themselves and a passion to reach the lost, seek out opportunities to spend time on Christmas day in remote areas. They take a little extra maize flour or vegetables with them to help those who are living on bare subsistence to enjoy something a little more for their Christmas meal. Oh, and it makes for conversations around the meaning of Christmas very rich.
They intentionally seek out those poorer than themselves to be with and to encourage!
This was a reminder to me that Jesus, above all else, modeled what it meant to give up his own riches to seek out and spend time among the poor. Christmas is, above all else, a celebration of this incarnational heart of God.
I am not suggesting that every one of us needs to forsake our Christmas traditions and spend that specific day among those more needy. But we who espouse, the organic Jesus-following lifestyle might at least consider how, when, and where we may seek out those who have less-- spiritually, emotionally, or physically--and demonstrate God’s heart as he leads.
Oh, and let me give a shout out to our own December project that provides clean water for villages in Africa where disease from contaminated water is common. I hesitated to mention this here, but it seemed appropriate knowing that 100% of what is raised goes to directly to filters for families.
May Jesus be seen through us in all things...
Share your own comment about how you hope to see the reality of Christmas incarnated through you during this season or upcoming year!