Food for the Hungry is celebrating Christmas all over the world.
In Phoenix, Ariz., our Food for the Hungry Christmas party included a rousing rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which required 60 staff people to act out all 12 of the gifts. We scarfed down delicious food, then chose from a whole range of desserts that ambitious staff members baked for us. Before the meal, we sang Christmas carols and listened to stories and Christmas scriptures.
It was a wonderful way to celebrate our year together, and the birth of the Lord who brings us together. Many families worldwide are doing the same today — eating special food, hearing special music and enjoying company they seldom get to see.
This month, many of our children in FH programs around the world are also enjoying community-wide Christmas festivities. It’s interesting to see what the children think is a special treat, and how people celebrate:
In Kenya, kids hear the Bible version of the Christmas story through skits and plays. They also recite memory verses. The meal is hearty — meat, rice, lentils, bananas, fruit juices, cookies, candies, beans and potatoes, capped off with milk to drink.
Uganda also serves meat and rice — “because it’s a delicacy in most of the communities,” say our staff there. And the kids also get a special treat: a soda! (I am drinking a soda as I write this, bought from the machine in the FH kitchen. What must it be like to live in a world where a soda pop is on the same level as say, holiday cranberries?) There is of course dancing and singing, too.
Children in Peru sometimes recite poetry at the Christmas parties there. In fact a lot of the programs feature children performing, giving their gifts of song, dance and recitation skills to their community at large.
I like that the sponsored children are receiving something, but I like even more that they’re encouraged to give their creative gifts at the party, too. I believe that anytime we sing or dance, the Lord smiles.
Even though we looked pretty silly at our party, squawking like six geese a-laying and flapping our wings like three French hens, we were giving the gifts of our collective voices to each other, and to God, in celebration.