CHRISTMAS 2020 – Christmas Around the World! Dec 20/2020
Worship on the Lord’s Day
We gather to worship God
Music Prelude –
Greeting: The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you
– (and also with you)
Good morning, Welcome to Dayspring Presbyterian Church.
I am Darlene Eerkes, your welcoming Elder today.
Welcome to the story of the birth of Jesus.
This will be narrated by the families and youth of our congregation.
Let us prepare silently for worship.
L: The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light
P: Those who lived in darkness –
on them a light has shined
L: Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!
Glynnis in Sanctuary
Glynnis lights the 4 advent candles – music plays…
- Lighter (with taper candle)
Carol: O Come All Ye Faithful (vs. 1&2)
Fionna: Good morning ladies and gentlemen, my name is Fionna McCrostie and I’m your chief flight attendant. On behalf of Reverend Heinrich Grosskopf and the entire crew of Dayspring Airlines, welcome aboard. Today we are celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, the happiest celebration of the year. This holy anniversary is celebrated by Christians all over the world. This morning, we’re going to visit some of the families of our congregation in their home countries. You will see just a few of the many traditions that children eagerly look forward to each year. So, polish off your imaginations and “bon voyage!” One word of caution: due to the speed of our adventure, it is necessary to hold onto your partner’s hand and stay with your guide, that’s me. We’re ready to go, so welcome aboard.
Christmas celebrations and traditions of the world’s Christian children may differ, but the message remains the same: Joy to the world, our Lord is come!
Ladies and Gentlemen, please keep your seatbelts fastened as we land in Pakistan, to visit the Aziz family, to hear about their Christmas traditions.
Scene one: The Aziz Family and the Journey to Bethlehem
Sabir: Hello Dayspring and Dayspringers, I am Sabir Aziz, and I am a virtual member of Dayspring and I love to be called Dayspringer. Today, I’m going to present how Christmas is celebrated in Pakistan.
The standard traditional Christmas greeting in Punjabi is ‘’Bara Din Mubarak Ho’’. Its literal meaning is, “Happy Big Day” and its general meaning is, “The blessing of Christmas be onto you”.
During the lead up to Christmas, lots of spiritual meetings and seminars take place to prepare people for ‘the big day’. Christians exchange sweets and cakes during this time.
Christian Professionals working in different parts of the country come back to their hometown to celebrate Christmas with their extended families.
For the past 15-20 years, we have started seeing Santa Claus, who comes to Christian houses with gifts and sweets. In Pakistan, Santa Claus is known as ‘Christmas Baba’.
Saima: Residential Christian colonies get decorated with twinkling lights and stars, and baubles such as bells, pinecones, apples, candies, tinsel and balloon bedecked trees, streets, houses and churches. Christians also hang Wreaths outside of their houses.
During the last week of Advent, carol groups (different ages from 10+) from different denominations pay their visits to Christian community houses around the cities, towns or village, and in return the families offer something to the choir. Most of the money collected from the carolers is used for charity work or is given to the church.
Marilyn: As the Christmas is also cold in Pakistan (not as cold as in Canada) so the mommies give their children boiled eggs to resist against cold weather, I still remember, when my Mom used to give me eggs, although I never joined any Carol groups until I turned 15.
It’s very common to have a lightened star on the roofs of Christian houses. The streets and houses are also get decorated and lit up with Christmas lights. Unlike any other countries, Pakistan has a ‘crib’ competition.
A vigil mass takes place on Christmas Eve (10pm, before safety and security it was 12am). This draws in large amounts of people, and at full occupancy late comers would have to attend the service from the tent outside of church building. During the mass, choirs sing Christmas hymns. Afterwards, there are lots of fireworks, music and dancing. People also take this opportunity to exchange gifts, Christmas cards and celebrate this Bara Din.
Corrie: On the 25th of December, Pakistani Christians attend a church service again, but dressed in their best clothing. Even the poorest people have new clothes and will attend the service. Afterwards, they will all stay in the courtyard and enjoy, eat and drink. Most adults visit their parents, children expect and are given fresh currency bills.
Families cook special dishes for friends and relatives, and the food is distributed in almost all houses in the community. Chicken or beef curry, rice and some sweet dishes are the staple menu during Christmas.
Merry Christmas and New year!
Fionna: We believe that Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary travelled to Bethlehem on a donkey.
Sarah: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken
of the entire Roman world.2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius
was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,
to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him
and was expecting a child.
Carol: Born in the Night (vs 1,2&4)
Scene two: The Ngotty Family and the Birth
Fionna: Our second stop is in Cameroon, where we’ll visit the Ngotty family.
Picture of Marie
My name is Marie Ngotty and I am a dedicated member of the Dayspring Presbyterian Church.
Picture of family (in car)
This is my family: my husband ___________
And my daughter _____________ who is ____ years old and my son __________ who is ____ years old. I would love to say how Christmas is celebrated in Cameroon, my home country.
Picture of Cameroon (scenery in “winter”)
Christmas in Cameroon is celebrated in a unique and traditional way in the heart of the summer season. IT is hot – about 20 – 25 degrees. Initially, Christians begin the celebration on the 24th of dec with night worship at church. Singing, chanting, dancing and waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ. This goes on for two to three hours.
Picture of Christmas Tree
Basically, Christmas celebration in Cameroon involves decorations and celebrations in people’s homes. People decorate internally only; there are just a few decorations in the streets. Internal decoration include Christmas trees fully decorated with lights and ornaments according to what people can afford. Externally there are a few trees with lights that are decorated by the municipalities.
Picture of Church Service – Cameroonians singing and dancing
Celebrations continue on Christmas morning with a holy service in church where Christians gather to sing, dance and celebrate the birth of the King of Kings. We would be dressed in our best, colourful clothes and hats. In Cameroon children are more excited and longing to see Christmas Day arrive. They are hoping to get new clothes, toys and gifts from their parents and loved ones.
Picture of 3 children holding sign – LOVE
Christmas eve celebration is the most interesting part for the children. Children organize themselves with nice concerts to perform for the parents. They act out the story of the birth of Jesus and how the three wise men visited Mary.
Picture of boy with sign of Peace
Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends. It is a busy time but also a time to think about God’s gift to us – Jesus. We take time to remember that God brings us Peace
Picture of food
On Christmas Day some families prepare meals before heading to church in the morning. Almost every family prepares food on the same day they eat.
Meal preparation during Christmas is an integral part of the celebration. There are different delicacies prepared by each family drawing from the 10 regions of Cameroon. Some of this food might be achu, fufu and eru. Fufu and eru is a delicacy from where I come from – the southwest region of Cameroon, precisely Mamsse. Fufu is extracted from fermented grain (casava) and eru is a tropical vegetable prepared with palm oil. It is eaten with fish, meat, intestines, whatever. Even in Canada, we can buy this in the African store to prepare at Christmas.
Picture of girl with sign of Joy
After the church service the celebration begins by children walking to visit the homes of their friends and their families; the big children walk with the little children. They visit, are welcomed into all homes and are given gifts, food and drinks. This is a time of great joy!
Picture of family in winter scene
Then the children go to their own homes and are given bigger gifts by their parents. Normally we never talk about Santa Claus; in Cameroon we say Father Christmas. We celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ.
Picture of Marie and 2 children in winter scene
Christmas is celebrated by young and old – by everyone. In Canada Christmas is different. Not only is there snow at Christmas but we visit friends by invitation only. In Cameroon you go and visit anyone, anytime and they can come and drop in on you any time, any day. It is hoped that you feed all your guests. So, food is always important and ready to eat.
Picture of Boy with the sign of Hope
We wish you all abundant love and we hope you all have enough to celebrate Christmas this year.
Fionna: We believe that Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger,
when there was no room at the inn.
Sarah:6 While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born,
7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him
in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Carol: That Boy Child of Mary (vs. 1,2&4)
Scene three: The Moncada Family and the Angels
Fionna: Next stop is the Philippines, where it’s a balmy 30oC. We’re here to visit with the Moncada family and hear about their Christian traditions.
Jan Ray: Hello! My name is Jan Ray. Some of you might know from Dayspring as a church elder.
Karen: I’m Karen
Kimi: Kimi here
Bianca: And I’m Bianca
Jan Ray: We all hail from the Philippines. I came to Canada in early 2011 with Kimi and Bianca, and Karen 4 years after. Kimi was 5 and Bianca a just year old when we got here. Today, we want to share with you all some of the Christmas Traditions that are practiced in the Philippines! Christmas is a very big thing in the Philippines, and we have a ton of traditions! We’ll be sharing a few of those with you today.
Number one on our list is starting Christmas early. For most countries, Christmas starts in December but not in the Philippines. Like I said, Christmas is a very big thing in the Philippines. So big that Filipinos start Christmas preparations when we get into the “Ber” months. That means as early as September. If you look up “Longest Christmas Celebrations in the world”, I can say with certainty that the Philippines will come up as a result, probably in the top 5. There’s no textbook explanation for why we celebrate Christmas so early, but there are theories. Perhaps it’s because of our predominantly Catholic beliefs, but then again, advent only starts in December. Families start to spruce up their homes with various Christmas decors, Christmas trees and lights as early as September and take them down late January the following year. You can even start hearing Christmas music in malls and public transit as early as September.
Karen: Another tradition is the Simbang Gabi, which means “night mass”. Filipinos attend mass either late at night or in the wee hours of the morning for all 9 days before Christmas. We try to complete all 9 days, both as a religious practice and because of the belief that attending all 9 masses will grant you a wish. To go with the season, churches are decorated to add a Christmas flair, and vendors often sell local Christmas goods outside after the mass. Staying up or getting up for Simbang Gabi might make you hangry (yes, angry and hungry at the same time), but a serving of bibingka and puto bumbong should do the trick and calm you down. These are the two most popular and most loved Christmas treats that Filipinos never miss out on. Both are variations of rice cakes – bibingka is baked in clay pots and leaves, while puto bumbong is steamed in bamboo tubes. Here we have a few samples of some Filipino treats that are ever-present during the holidays. [ Shows a platter of Filipino treats and describes each]
Kimi: For most countries, Christmas caroling means a whole production of good vocals, coordinated outfits, instruments, and well-practiced Christmas tunes. For us, it’s become a humorous affair. Filipino kids and adults alike go from house to house, starting from early December. Lyric books and Christmas costumes are ditched for recycled instruments and made up lyrics. Kids especially look forward to going caroling and earn some money. When we were in the Philippines in December 2015, I remember my grandparents would prepare a jar full of coins and we’d give out coins to the carolers!
Jan Ray: Everyone knows about Christmas lights, but the Philippines has the “parol”, a Christmas ornament unique to us. Traditionally, “parols” come in the shape of a big circle with a star in the middle, but you can also choose from various designs like stars and flowers. It can also be made from different materials like plastic, wire, wood, or even recyclable materials. The parol was originally made to hang on lamp posts to guide mass-goers to Simbang Gabi, but now they can be found everywhere like outside houses, in malls, and offices. [ Shows a sample “Parol”]
Karen: Most people eat their Christmas dinner either on Christmas Eve or Christmas night, but Filipinos often wake up at midnight to welcome Christmas day with Noche Buena, a lavish feast of traditional Filipino Christmas dishes like lechon, queso de bola, hamon, spaghetti, and fruit salad. Most Filipino families are also separated for most of the year, with kids off at college and parents going overseas for work. The mundane act of preparing Noche Buena is also something we look forward to, because it’s a time to prep meals and cook together as a whole family.
Jan Ray: These are just a few of the traditions we have in the Philippines. We hope you enjoyed our short video. And we wish everyone a very merry Christmas! Here’s Bianca with a Christmas Greeting in Filipino!
Bianca: Maligayang Pasko at Masaganang Bagong Taon! [Translation – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!]
Fionna: We believe that the Shepherds heard the Good News from angels in the night sky.
Sarah: 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
that will cause great joy for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped
in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Carol: In the Heavens Shone a Star (vs. 1,2&4)
Scene four: The Smuts Family and the Shepherds
Fionna: Hi folks, here we are in South Africa! We’re here to visit the Smuts family and learn about some of their Christmas traditions.
Hi, my name is Karima. I am here with my husband Hein and our girls: Kariesa, Hannelie and Anneliese. We are originally from South Africa, but our girls were born right here in Edmonton. South Africa is the most Southern point of the African continent.
We never experienced a white Christmas until we came to Canada in 2003. Christmas in South Africa in December is very hot and beautiful. I spend every holiday and Christmas, growing up, at my Oupa and Ouma’s farm in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is right next to South Africa on the Northern border. Christmas was always a busy time for my Ouma because there was lots of preparation that needed to happen before the big day. Ouma would wait until all the Grandkids were there before we all started baking. We would bake sugar, all spice and jam-filled cookies and lots of buttermilk beskuit (rusks). We usually have a cooked ham which is homemade (can’t buy it in the store there) and ox tongue, a delicacy in South Africa. We would have many different salads as our side dishes because it is so hot there. Salads like rice salad, pasta salad and of course potato salad. Dessert was usually a brown pudding or a cold passion fruit dessert, it’s just passion fruit you can get in a can, a can of condensed milk and whip cream.
A few days before Christmas Ouma would put up this very tiny Christmas tree. It always went on top of a small table and all the presents will be put there about a day before Christmas Eve. We always, when the grownups didn’t know, tried to get a peek.
On Christmas Eve we would have a short Service, on the Christmas story, right there on the farm because the nearest church is over an hour away. Then we would play games (board games, cards etc.) to keep us busy until the strike of midnight before we open our presents. Oupa always made us wait until exactly 12 am…what a drag it was back then…I think my kids feel the same way…
Christmas in South Africa does look very similar to Canada’s. Everyone put up lights and Christmas trees and lots of crazy Christmas shopping sprees for families. Just like here…
Our Christmas tradition here in Canada does look a bit different. We have a small Christmas tree that we decorate right on Dec 1. It’s usually a family affair where I would play Christmas music while we decorate. My favourite part of that tradition is putting up the Nativity scene. We have one inside and a light-up one that shines for all the world to see when they drive by.
We still open our present on Christmas Eve. I, however, go all out cooking up a storm for a big Christmas Eve dinner. We go to a Christmas Eve Church service, followed by dessert then it’s the present opening time. Now that the girls are older, we try waiting until just before 12 am but have never succeeded. The girls were always so impatient…I wonder who they get that from? On Christmas day before we go to Oupa and Ouma’s house, we go tobogganing or go for a nice winter stroll then we head over to the Grandparent house. They usually make a ton of finger food or Chicken pot pie. We would bring our new toys to play with or just play a ton of games and have a good time.
What do you guys think of our family’s Christmas traditions? What was the most fun?
Kariesa: I feel our traditions are pretty normal because a lot of my friends do the same things as us. Opening my presents earlier is more fun because I am not very patient.
Hannelie: Our tradition is quite normal considering some families don’t go to church. During Christmas, I feel happy and joy because were all together in one room talking and having fun.
Anneliese: I think our traditions are very fun, because we don’t have to wait an extra day to open presents, and we also get to enjoy a feast.
Hein: What did you do for Christmas in South Africa? My tradition was very similar to Karima’s…lots of food, like roast beef and trimmings and yummy vinegar pudding, just a cake-like pudding with vinegar in it. We usually had Christmas at my Grandparent’s house in town with my Uncle and his family.
‘n Baie Geseende Kersfees en Voorspoedig Nuwe jaar aan almal.
A very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all! From the Smuts family
Fionna: We believe that the Shepherds hurried to witness the birth of the Messiah.
Sarah: 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds
said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph,
and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Carol: Hark the Herald Angels Sing (vs. 1-3)
Scene five: The Hehr Family and the Message
Fionna: Our final destination is back in Canada, where we’ll visit the Hehr family to hear of all the things they do to celebrate Christmas.
Hi, my name is Noah Hehr. This is my sister Leah (Leah says Hi!) and my mom and dad. We really like Christmas in our family and do many things to celebrate.
Leah: We decorate our tree with many special ornaments. We have ornaments that are from places we have visited, from family and friends, and for things that are special to us. Each year, we get a new ornament for our tree. This is an ornament from my first Christmas.
Noah: We also decorate our house inside and out. We have lights on the roof and two inflatables: a poop emoji with a Santa hat and Olaf. Throughout our house, we have snowmen, gingerbread men, and angels.
Laura: Our manger scene has a prominent place in our home with several pieces passed down to our family from others including parents and grandparents. The kids also have manger scene of their own that has seen lots of love and play over the years.
Laura: We count down the days to Christmas with advent calendars and other special events. We enjoy the Christmas lights at the Legislature, reading Christmas stories, and spreading Christmas joy to others by sending Christmas cards and sharing our gifts with those in need.
Leah: This year we made an advent wreath and will “light” our candles each Sunday as we prepare for Jesus’ birth on Christmas Day (Leah to show our wreath).
Noah: Each year, we have breakfast with Santa at the Festival of Trees. They have face painting, crafts, and a pancake breakfast. We also visit the tree display, decorate a gingerbread man, and shop for mom and dad in a special place just for kids. This year because of Covid will we have to do something different but don’t worry Leah and I have good ideas for our mom and dad this year.
Ken: At Christmas, we make special baking to share with family and friends. But maybe not this year??
Noah: My favourites are lemon bars. This year, I am going to try and make gingerbread men using a new recipe.
Leah: I like lemon bars too! And confetti bars and chocolate-covered licorice.
Laura: We also make tourtière each year using a recipe passed down from my grand-mama.
Noah: On Christmas Eve, we leave cookies and milk for Santa Claus and carrots for the reindeer. Leah and I like to wake up extra early on Christmas morning to see what Santa has left us.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours. Merry Christmas x3 Bye!
Fionna: We believe that the Shepherds sang glory and praise for what they had seen.
Sarah:17 When the shepherds had seen Jesus, they spread the word concerning what had been
told them about this child,18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds
said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things
they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Glynnis in sanctuary
Lighting of the Christ candle
Carol: Il est ne (vs. 2&3)
Scene 4: Closing
Fionna: Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been cleared to land back in Edmonton,
at Dayspring church. Please make sure one last time your seat belt is fastened as we begin our descent. On behalf of Dayspring Airlines and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this trip around the world to hear of the many traditions celebrated by members of our congregation has. Although we have different Christmas traditions, we all celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Have a wonderful day, and Merry Christmas.
Christmas celebrations and traditions of the world’s Christian children may differ,
but the message remains the same: Joy to the world, our Lord is come!
Heinrich (in sanctuary)
After the following prayer and blessing, and we have sung ‘Joy to the world’ the Zoom team will assign everyone (randomly) to Breakout Rooms. I encourage as many of you as possible to participate. This is a way of continuing to build community and care for each other. Let’s make use of this time for fellowship.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank You for so much diversity right here among us. We are in awe about so much variety that there is between all of us. We know that through your Spirit, You bind us together in one Body of Christ. We are made one and that fills us with so much amazement.
As we approach this Christmas season, we know that it will be very different to the ways that we are used to. We still bring thanks to You for the fact that You remain the same. You are Love, You still bring Peace, Hope and Joy to us. That’s why we want to allow You to live right in our own lives so that we can be instruments of that Love which you breathe into us through your Son who came to this world on that wonderful Christmas Day, 20 centuries ago in Bethlehem. Amen
Now, dear friends, go out with God’s blessing: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” Amen
Carol: Joy to the World (vs. 1,2&4)
(Zoom breakout rooms)
Copyright 2020 – Fionna McCrostie, Youth Coordinator of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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