Bringing Christmas Cheer into Mbayi

Wishing a Merry Christmas 'This is how Jesus the Messiah was born...' I read from Matthew 1:18-25 to a group of mothers, grandmothers and children gathered in a church in Mbayi for a Christmas party kindly sponsored by the Mom's Group at Caledonia Presbyterian Church, Ontario, Canada. They arrived tired, having toiled in the fields since dawn hoeing, planting and weeding to subsist. What a huge treat it was for them to receive a sweet feast of cake, lemonade, candy and crisps! Revived and singing a chorus of 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas', they giggled as I donned a cap and began to play Santa. Gift bags filled with some things they need like soap, washing powder, toothbrush and paste, which most cannot afford plus items desired but generally unobtainable for them - tea, cookies, body lotion, lip gloss and earrings- brought merriment and gratitude. In the midst of much hardship Canadian moms provided a rare and joyful respite for their Zambian friends, so far away but close to their hearts, a gesture that will be remembered and recounted for years to come, I'm sure.

Elsewhere in the village, during this week before Christmas, I was privileged to be the one distributing gifts and lollipops to children unaccustomed to the luxury of a sweet, toy or colouring book, sent by compassionate supporters overseas. I am moved to tears as I recall the impact of your generosity. You have brought pleasure into a place of much suffering. May God bless you - you are a blessing!