image1BAMAKO, MALI: This year we celebrated Christmas differently – the joy of gifts was replaced by the joy of the Lord; the family meal was replaced by a huge celebration with brothers and sisters in Christ; and the focus on the material aspects of Christmas was replaced by the magnificence and glory of the birth of Jesus. We all knew the true meaning of Christmas but the traditions of the west diminished the significance of Jesus and elevated the importance of gifts and decorations. This year we celebrated Christmas in a rural village with hundreds of brothers and sisters who love the Lord. Everyone came dressed in their finest clothes to meet with the Lord, to sing, to dance, and to appreciate the birth of the King! As a team, our eyes were opened to what a true celebration of Christmas is: the anniversary of the greatest gift we will ever receive – the Messiah and the Redeemer who came to give us life and free us from sin and unrighteousness. Experiencing Christmas in its most purest form was what was most special to me – far removed from the pollution introduced by the west and deeply entrenched in the joy of the birth of the Son of God.

By Leah Hunter