With just 10 days to go until Christmas day, we bring you a wonderful story from Asia; a story of how the true meaning of Christmas is being told in counties that have never heard it before and how it is changing hearts and lives
Lucy* was 12 years old when she realised that Christmas was not just about parties and presents. At the time, she was studying at one of the Freedom Challenge-supported schools in south-east Asia.
The true meaning of Christmas, explained to her by teachers at the school, touched her heart.
A reason to hope
"Before I knew Jesus, my life was filled with worries,” says Lucy. “Now that I understand what Christmas really means, I have a reason to stand firm in Christ and hope for the future," she enthuses with a bright smile.
Each year, teachers at the school provide truly special Christmas celebrations for 300 children and adults. Each child receives a gift bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, exercise book, pencil, erasers, towel, cup, bowl and spoon.
One of the project workers describes the atmosphere at the school on the day of the festivities:
Brimming with excitement
“As our vehicle pulled up into the school compound, the children were running all over the school, brimming with excitement. The evening's celebration was a fitting reward for their year of hard work. As school finishes for the holidays, most of the children remain in the village, spending their days climbing trees, jumping ditches, fashioning toys out of whatever they can find and helping their families in daily chores.
“More truckloads of children arrived from partner schools and churches. Some arrived dusty from the ride through the dirt track. Those who lived in the school looked freshly scrubbed and groomed as best as they could.
“When the concert finally started, the children, parents and teachers filled up the classroom and spilled out into the corridors. The twinkling fairy lights and colourful garland laced the hall and created a cheery Christmas atmosphere.
The programme started with worship. Choruses of “Hallelujah” rang out from the hall into the village, as if heralding the birth of Jesus years ago on the first Christmas.
Music, dance and songs
One of the project workers shared a message of hope that is found in Jesus. The message is especially poignant for the parents in the community as many of them live in abject poverty and despair, but desire a better future for their children. Thereafter, we were treated to a myriad of performances, ranging from traditional dances and songs in different languages, to modern hip hop dances to English songs.
Lucy’s story and her growing understanding of what Christmas is all about is a huge encouragement to the teachers. They serve the children and community so faithfully, providing quality education that will give the children a better future and strong spiritual foundation.
Sharing Jesus' love
As the Christmas story is told again and again in this community, our hope is that more people will come to know the love of Jesus and find joy and hope amidst their daily struggles and challenges.
This Christmas you could help to bring the message of Jesus to more and more people around the world.
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*Name changed to protect identity