Christmas is not commercialized here like it is at home. Christmas lights just went up in the shopping malls here about 2 weeks ago. Last weekend I heard a church choir singing Christmas carols in one of the malls. It was a nice reminder that Jesus is remembered at Christmas. Christianity has a long history in Africa, and Christmas has also been celebrated for centuries. Learn about Christmas traditions in Africa.
Nairobi has begun to clear out as Kenyans head “up-country,” that is back to the homes of their parents or other extended family for the holidays. Our offices will be closed for about one week. We’re anticipating a quiet Christmas at home with maybe an excursion to a nearby national park to see some African animals. Our gifts are already wrapped and under the artificial Christmas tree that we purchased from some Americans that were leaving Nairobi.
This is one of several ornaments hand-crafted in Kenya that we have on our Christmas tree this year. This one reminds us of the angels announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds in the field. I wonder what language the angels gave their announcement in: Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew? …it wasn’t English. An English translation of the Bible was first available at the end of the 1300s–more than 1000 years after Christ’s birth.
From the Bible, the book of Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 8-14, New International Version (an English translation)
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
A shepherd from one of our Kenyan Nativities.
From the Bible, the book of Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 8-14, Swahili New Testament
KiSwahili is spoken by more than 131,000 people in Kenya and 350,000 people in Tanzania. It is also spoken in several other countries in Africa.
8 Usiku ule walikuwako wachungaji wakilinda kondoo zao nje ya mji. 9 Ghafla malaika wa Bwana akawatokea, na utukufu wa Mungu ukawang’azia pande zote. Wakajawa na hofu kuu. 10 Lakini malaika akawatuliza akisema: “Msiogope! Nawaletea habari njema ya furaha kubwa, na habari hii ni kwa faida ya watu wote! 11 Kwa maana leo katika mji wa Bethlehemu, amezaliwa Mwokozi ambaye ndiye Kristo Bwana. 12 Na hivi ndivyo mtakavyomtambua: mtamkuta mtoto mchanga amefunikwa vinguo na kulazwa horini.”
13 Mara jeshi kubwa la malaika wa mbinguni likatokea na pamoja wakamsifu Mungu wakiimba: 14 “Atukuzwe Mungu juu mbin guni, na duniani iwepo amani kwa watu ambao amependezwa nao.”