Christmas Carols In February

Written by a Spring 2015 Student.

There is a portion of the world that has little to no access to the best news that the world will ever hear. That fact and the statistics that support such a statement helped bring us to this part of the world. Over the last few weeks we have met people, souls more specifically, who do not know of the light that has come. It may be hard for you to imagine such a place, as it was for me a short time ago. Let me introduce you to some of those souls and how light is breaking through darkness in melodious ways.

Our task was to be immersed fully in culture and language by living with a local family for the week. I’d like to share that this task was met with only eagerness, but that would not be completely true. Eagerness mixed with uncertainty and hesitation collided within me as we walked into the home that would be ours for the week. I was first struck by the colors–turquoise splashed cement walls, extravagant displays of floral arrangements scattered throughout the open living space and bright faces welcomed us in. I peeked back into the kitchen to see a grandmother squatting, as only the locals seem to be able to perfect, preparing lunch. Quick greetings were shared before we dove into our first language lesson of the week. With brains of mush, we emerged from that class a couple of hours later to sit down for our first meal with the family. Warm smiles, small talk in a couple of broken languages, and impressive chopstick maneuvers filled our dining. I have never felt so welcomed by strangers.

How could such selfless and welcoming people be far from our Dad? As a friend of mine always says, “It’s amazing how Dad’s character is reflected in these people who do not yet know Him.” I could echo that over and over again for the family who made us their own. While I loved each moment spent in the home that welcomed us, the sobering reality is that we were quite possibly the first believers to ever step foot in their home, much less stay there for a week.

Language stood dividing us in a way that felt overwhelming to me as we sat playing games after dinner on that first evening. Music quickly arose as a common favorite for all of us, regardless of language. We played games centered around simple songs and everyone shared their favorites. A surprise and glimmer of light came when we began singing along with the keyboard. As all standard keyboards do, the keyboard of the oldest daughter had many preset songs that could be played with the touch of a button. Soon enough we realized that the melodies were familiar to us. We heard a wide variety of songs from When the Saints Go Marching In to My Heart Will Go On playing from the speakers of the clearly American manufactured keyboard. The family hummed along to these songs and to their favorite, We Wish You A Merry Christmas. This is a country in which less than 2% of the population know Jesus. Yet, there we sat getting to put words to songs already hidden in the hearts of our new host family because of this keyboard. We sang of the joy brought to the world on the day of his coming. We sang of the earth receiving her king. We welcomed heaven and nature to sing along.

The king has come! He will be adored by all of his creation. Join me in thanking God for the ways he is already making his glory known in this place and that he will continue to use whatever means necessary to provide ways to share the good news with those who have not yet heard the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love—even Christmas carols on a keyboard in February.