To be sure, there are plenty of places in Papua New Guinea where Christmas isn’t celebrated at all – and plenty of tribes that don’t know why it’s celebrated. Fortunately, through the good work of New Tribes, Wycliffe, YWAM, and other missions here, that number grows less every year as more and more Papua New Guineans share in the hope of the Word become flesh.
But here in the heart of Ukarumpa, Christmas is very much alive. All month long, there have been Christmas parties and caroling choirs, cookie deliveries and concerts. And while a place like Ukarumpa has a wide variety of Christmas traditions from all over the world, my Christmas Day had every taste of an Alabama Christmas: good food, friends, family, and plenty of joy.
Amanda’s good sister, Kelly, was kind enough to take me in for the day. Her three kids, herself, and husband Paul were all under-the-weather as well, so we just coughed all day and had fun being sick together. Here are some highlights…
Getting to watch children – full of wonder – opening their presents and showing off their new things:
Growing animals in warm water (I’ve never stopped enjoying this):
Opening a present named “Bobo”:
Watching little Piper mix her beads with her lolly (as the Australians say) in spectacular fashion:
And finally, Skyping with my crazy family and the lovely Amanda on their Christmas Eves: (and watching my brothers and sisters-in-law open their hand-carved Papuan pigs)
As for the New Year… I hear they make their own fireworks in Ukarumpa – but I’ll be living with the Papua New Guineans by then (which should, I expect, be equally exciting).