Celebrating Christmas Around the World with YWAM!
Youth With A Mission teams scattered around the globe have found several unique ways to celebrate Christmas in the communities where they live. For these teams, this season of giving is a particular opportunity to express God's love; the way He stepped into our reality to bring hope and the promise of redemption.
Christmas is a special time of year when we bring to mind that the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus, came to be one of us; that the Son of God came to be, to dwell, to remain with us.
In addition to the tremendous significance of the season to followers of Jesus, Christmas has become a favourite celebration for many other communities around the world. For most, it is simply a time to enjoy family, to celebrate generosity and to revel in familiar traditions and rituals.
What is the Christmas gift you would most like to receive this year? For many, there are practical needs whose importance looms larger than the desire for treats or trinkets. For others, the deeply-felt need for rescue is paramount in their minds.
Follow us as we trace expressions of Christmas happening at all four points of the compass ...
In the cold north, YWAM volunteers will gather in the Red Light District of Amsterdam where Inside Out, a
Black Gospel choir, will perform Christmas carols. During this free performance on the streets, our volunteers will give out Christmas cookies and, with a simple smile, share the love of Jesus with the people of the city. Click here to learn more.
In snowy Switzerland, YWAM has partnered with Christianity Today, Campus Crusade for Christ, and the Evangelical Alliance of Switzerland to produce a special magazine sharing Christmas stories. At train stations, in thousands of mailboxes, and in countless offices the freshly inked edition of "Quarter of an Hour for the Things that Count" shares the hope of Christ in a relevant, modern, and accessible way. Click to learn more about YWAM Switzerland
Over in Poland, YWAM's King's Kids workers in the city of Ruda Slaska have been putting gifts together in shoe boxes. The mayor of the city encouraged all the schools to participate in this Christmas initiative, so that YWAM volunteers were overwhelmed by the number of goods gathered. Thanks to the shoe boxes - for some children, the only Christmas gift they will receive - the simple and practical message of Jesus has been expressed.
Further east, our teams in sunny Thailand will host a Christmas party for a community of Burmese labourers. Once again, music and giving go hand-in-hand as YWAM volunteers celebrate with disadvantaged people a God of love, playing games and offering edible treats as well as prayer and compassion. Click here for more information.
YWAM leader, Bronwyn, says: "It's something special that the community looks forward to all year - a time of celebration for them. It's also a special time for the kids that we work with; they put together a drama every year to show the rest of the community."
In the south, among the children of under-privileged communities in South Africa, YWAM volunteers participated in distributing gifts of brand new school shoes to children. For many, this was the first time they have had shoes to wear to school. See their delighted faces in the photo accompanying this story - evidence of their joy at this special Christmas present!
Even further south, a rather more large-scale celebration will take place in Australia where, in Townsville, YWAM teams will help stage the 10th annual Stable on the Strand. Held on the city's iconic foreshore, the live nativity will feature an interactive replica of the events that took place in the town of Bethlehem 2000 years ago. Spokesperson Richard Hosking said the annual event was about bringing the local community together. Click here to find out more.
Finally, we travel west and come to Latin America. In Argentina, in the region of Rivadavia, there are about 60 communities of the aboriginal Wichi people. YWAM teams will spend part of the Christmas period staying in this remote area, reaching out to vulnerable villagers through health prevention workshops, gifts of clothing and creative reenactment of the Christmas story.
In the Mendoza province of neighbouring Chile, YWAM is organising a week of activities for the Huarpe community in collaboration with local churches, businesses and civil associations. Through activities as diverse as extreme sports, guided tours of the city, women’s spa treatments and beauty workshops, theatre, and values-based sex education classes for youth, YWAM is seeking to embody the true message of Christmas.
After our lightening international tour - somewhat like the sleigh ride of Santa Claus that children might imagine - we are left with an impression of a string of lights illuminating the nations with the message of Jesus: the One who came as a baby to reconcile us to God.
May you know the truth of Christmas during this season of celebration, and may you be part of making that truth known to your community.