Christmas can be one of the hardest times for a missionary family on the mission field, especially if it is their first one away from family, home church and friends. They may be in language school and can get together with other missionaries who are also in language school, or they may be in a place where they are the only missionaries around. If the church is just getting started, they may be limited to what they can feel comfortable doing with their growing church family. I talked to a few of our missionary wives and gathered some ideas to share with you! Feel free to share with any of your missionaries that may be spending their first Christmas on the field. Some of these ideas would be great for any of us to use! I love how they implement the Christmas STORY (the greatest part about Christmas) into their lives. Sadly this gets overlooked way too often in the culture we live in today!
From Beth White: “We do an avent type thing for the month of December called the Jesse tree. It goes through the whole story of Creation up to Jesus’ birth. We hang little ornaments that go with each story on a tree. Each Monday in December we watch a Christmas movie. When we decorate the tree we listen to Christmas music, make hot chocolate, and decorate. Instead of getting a lot of gifts we usually plan a couple of vacation days and go somewhere as a family.”
From Beth: “I bought gifts and had them sent to my family. They couldn’t open them until we Skyped 🙂 Amazon has a wrapped gift feature I used so they’d be wrapped. My family sent some gifts that I couldn’t open until we Skyped as well. Also since I was working with the Masters family they were great at taking me in and letting me be a part of their Christmas which helped a ton as a single!”
From Rebel Hill: “We decorate Christmas cookies. The church has a Christmas Eve service and then chocolate fondue after. We also Skype with family for the kids to open presents from grandparents.”
From Natasha: “We are a day ahead so we stretched Christmas out to last 3 days the first year! We knew it was going to be difficult without our family…and without our son as well. So we really tried to make it as wonderful as we could. We had bought a lot of special ornaments over our time on deputation from special places we went, so that first Christmas was really exciting finally getting to pull those out and put those on the tree….remembering all the adventures God had given us during our time on the road. Both sides of our family sent boxes with wrapped presents ahead of time that we were able to put under our tree as well. We made Christmas Eve our “family day” so I made some special foods we missed and then we opened our presents together as a family. Then on Christmas day, we had our teammates over for a special lunch and later that night we began skyping our family members to open presents. They skyped us during each family gathering throughout the night and the next morning (since it was still Christmas in the states) as well. We really enjoyed our first Christmas on the field!”
From Sandy Roberts: ” I’m very excited to be in India this year for Christmas. There are very few Christians here so it’s not a big holiday. But we are celebrating! Autumn is doing a Christmas program with the children on Christmas Eve. (See the adorable video!!) Also, we have two Christmas trees in the church. One is for the children. Autumn has been teaching on the tree, ornaments, colors, star, lights, etc. and the children have made corresponding crafts to hang on their tree. They will take
them home with them on Christmas Eve. Also, here at home, I made an advent calendar from a hanging shoe organizer. It includes verses about the birth of Christ, Eli ,Ali and I read one every night and I put treats in the pockets for every day. Anaya especially loves the treats.”
From Alisha: “We celebrate with our Taiwanese boys. They are our family and we love on them. We read Luke 2 before we open presents. We Skype John’s dad. I would Skpe my mom but the internet where she is doesn’t always work well. We also have a church Christmas banquet.”