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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas in India

Sarita's Word

Have you heard the good news? Thanks to your participation and Sonlight's matching gift, we raised enough money to send 287,827 Indian children to Bible Club!

My heart has been warmed to hear about so many families following along with the My Passport to India videos, praying for children in India and giving sacrificially to help others come to know Jesus. Thank you for participating.

Mission India is keeping all the videos up through December 31. Click here to see any of them (including the final "bloopers" video).

How do people in India celebrate Christmas?

While we go on with our lives here, life continues in India as well. With Christmas nearly here, would your kids like to know how people in India celebrate?

A mom on the Forums asked that recently. One of our partners at Mission India gave a great response:

Here are a few ways Christmas is celebrated in India:

  • In Southern India, Christians often put small oil burning clay lamps on the flat roofs of their homes to show their neighbors that Jesus is the light of the world.
  • Instead of having traditional pine Christmas trees, a banana or mango tree is decorated. Sometimes people use mango leaves to decorate their homes.
  • Christians in Mumbai often display a manger in a front window. Also families hang giant paper lanterns, in the shape of stars, between the houses so that the stars float above you as you walk down the road.
  • Homemade sweets are given to visitors.
  • Poinsettias and candles are used to decorate homes and churches.
  • In India, Father Christmas or Santa Claus delivers presents to children from a horse and cart. He's known as 'Christmas Baba' in Hindi and 'Christmas Thaathaa' in Tamil.

Just like in the West, Christmas is a festive, exciting time for families. Re-enactments of the Nativity scene and caroling are also popular in India. It is exciting to think about the children and families in India who will be introduced to the Gospel this year through Children's Bible Clubs—and discover the true meaning of Christmas for the first time!

-Lindsay at Mission India


How interesting. Maybe you'd like to decorate with leaves, put a manger in your front window or make some paper lanterns this year.

For a real treat, you could also make some authentic Indian Chai. You just need milk (whole milk is most authentic), plain black tea bags (regular or decaf), sugar and some spices. Check out a simple recipe here: Authentic Indian Chai. You can probably find cardamom pods at your normal grocery store, a spice shop or an Indian grocery store.

Will you join me in prayer for our brothers and sisters?

Though Christmas is a great time of joy and celebration for Indian Christians, it can also bring extra risk of persecution. On Christmas Eve 2007, horribly violent persecution by Hindu extremists broke out in the state of Orissa against Christians. Hundreds of churches and Christian homes were burned and hundreds of Christians fled for their lives into the surrounding jungles. Thousands were left homeless. Many Christians still suffer consequences of this devastating attack.

As Christmas puts an increased focus on Christians in India, some extremists can try to "make an example" out of Christians. Christmas can also give extra opportunities for Christians to share Jesus with others. Please pray with me this season that God gives courage, grace, strength and protection to our Indian brothers and sisters in Christ.

May you and your family—along with Christians around the world—enjoy a blessed Christmas. May we all rejoice that Emmanuel has come!

Joy and peace to you,
Sarita

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luke holzmann
Luke Holzmann
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Judy Wnuk
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sarita holzmann
Sarita Holzmann
Co-founder and president of Sonlight Curriculum.
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