My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

Get Involved

Learn More


Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa Claus and Christmas

I love the Christmas season. 

I love the preparation. 

The smells...a Christmas tree...gingerbread...all the Christmas cooking...

The sights...the lights...the snow...the magic of it all...

Curling up under a blanket, a good book, and a cup of cocoa...

I just love it.

But, I am realizing more and more how much of that has been poured into me from the American culture for years and years.

I sit here in Ghana, surrounded by red dirt, rainy skies (though they should be drying out any day with the change of seasons), hot, sometimes oppressive heat, and misquitoes.  The laughter of children (and many times the cries of children) pierces through every minute of most of my days.

It looks different here.

The smells are different.

The sights are different.

I definitely won't be curling up under a cozy blanket staring out the window in wait for the snow to fall.

I think the biggest difference I have noticed is this issue of Santa Claus. 

Here, Father Christmas is something that maybe children might mention, but he has no job.  He has no role.

And as I look at our American culture, saturating this season with WANT...it really makes me sad.

You see, I see NEED everyday.

I see need in the actions of our little Gabriel who struggles with his behavior because he so longs for attention.

I see need in the body and health of our little Amenyo who has battled regaining his health after being malnourished for far too long.

I see need in the eyes of our schoolboy Angelo, knowing he has no one to run to in a time of trouble.

I see need in the clothes of some of our community kids, ripped and torn, yet proudly worn.

I see need almost everywhere I look.

So, when I see movies with gifts piled high under Christmas trees, I have to ask the question..."Why?".

It just doesn't seem quite right somehow.

Let me tell you how they celebrate Christmas here in Ghana.

First of all, parents will save their coins all year long to be able to buy and sew a new outfit for their child.  The only new thing that that child will get all year long.

They will kill a goat...or a chicken...or a rabbit...

Prepare food.

Invite family.

And everyone will come and celebrate the birth of Christ together.

First thing Christmas morning, the children will dress in their new clothes and shoes.  They will gather their Bibles and walk to church with their family.

They will praise God for the TRUE meaning of Christmas, that the greatest gift of all was brought to us on Christmas day, the gift that offers freedom, Christ Jesus.

And then, they will go back home and eat.

And dance.

And celebrate together.

Long into the night.

I love that.  And I think they've got it right.

Christmas isn't about what we want...honestly, we have just about everything we could possible want...it is about the celebration of a little boy who grew up to be the man that changed the world.  And celebrating that with family and friends...now that is what Christmas should really look like.

No comments:

Post a Comment