by Marta Castillo – Franconia Conference Leadership Minister of Intercultural Formation
When I was a girl, we lived in Indonesia. I really enjoyed the Christmas celebration we had in the village. We got up in the morning to go to church, to hear the word of God, sing Christmas songs, and eat rice cakes and drink coffee together. In the afternoon, the whole village played soccer and volleyball, ran races and won prizes. It was hot there and we could go out to celebrate in the streets with others. Nobody had the tradition or the money to buy gifts for their families. I remember that my mom wanted to set time to open gifts as a family like our tradition here in the US. My brother and I loved being with our friends in the community.
Now that I live here in the US, the Christmas culture is very different. The cold weather prevents us from going out to celebrate in the streets in the community. Most families celebrate within family units. There are many expectations promoted in social media and the mix of US traditions of Santa Claus, trees, gifts, and decorations. The churches often have services and celebrate Christmas with songs and the word of God in the days before Christmas Day.
From my Latin brothers here in the US, I have learned Christmas songs that remind me of the importance of celebrating the Christian Christmas culture.
Song translation – “How Good is Christmas, Bringing peace and joy,
Christ is Christmas and He who has Christ has joy.”
Peace and joy come from God through Jesus Christ. There are beautiful traditions in all cultures. We can mix and exchange the cultural celebrations of Christmas if we do not exchange Jesus Christ for any of them.
Song translation – “Christ is Christmas, The world offers you deception,
Do not exchange Jesus Christ, For the New Year’s party,
He has given you peace, do not exchange Christ at Christmas.
// How beautiful it is to sing to the Lord at Christmas time//
// Brothers and sister, let’s sing to God ! How beautiful it is to sing to the Lord at Christmas time.//
Selamat Hari Natal!