Christmas Joy in India

Picture6The true JOY of Christmas comes from the good news of the birth of the Messiah King, the baby Jesus. He is the one who brings JOY to this season. How each of us celebrate that JOY is unique. We each have our own traditions and expectations for this holiday. We’d like to share some thoughts from one of our Central Territory cadets at the College for Officer Training. Cadet Anil Kumar shares with us what Christmas Joy looks like for his family in India:

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1. “Christmas is one of the most respected festivals in many parts of India. Most of the big Churches/Corps will make a big star. Usually its the Church members who are involved in this. We do not buy stars for our Corps as this is one of the main things done by every church and community. For Churches we make stars which can be 20 ft tall. And for homes, we hang up small stars outside our houses. Having a star outside the house has become so popular that other religious people will also do that.”

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2. “Christmas Carols: This is about spreading good news that the king is born. At our Churches there will be a Christmas Carol group who will visit every family in the Corps. Also we will be invited by other religious people to visit their houses during this time.

How does the Caroling work? The carols usually start past 9PM night and we will spend 5-8 minutes at a house. We will sing a couple of Christmas hymns, read the scripture and wish them a Merry Christmas. The families we visit will give offering (money for the Corps ministry fund as we do not do Red Kettles) and some snacks. We will probably visit 100-200 families in 2-3 days. This will be from past 9pm to 5am max. Also during this time we will visit our friends who are not Christians and we will spread the good news to them during this time. It is a great time to minister to everyone.”

Picture93.”Most of our friends expects an invitation for Christmas as it is considered to be UNIQUE FESTIVAL in India. Most of the people do believe that Jesus was born and they do feel like knowing about that. I was the only Christian guy in my entire class and they expected me to invite them for Christmas and also for Christmas cake. I did invite my friends to my home and I always arranged food for my friends (with my dad’s money though).”

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“For us Christmas is not about celebrating within the family, but it is to spread the love of God to our friends and others.”

Just like Cadet Anil and his family, you can Share Your Christmas Joy with others by contributing financially so we can provide Salvation Army institutions, schools and homes overseas with the necessary funds to make Christmas a special holiday for their children. Christmas may look different in other places, but every child deserves to experience Christmas Joy.

To contribute to the Share Your Christmas Joy campaign, click here. Thank you for Sharing your Christmas Joy with children in need around the world.Picture4