Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Caroling

Here in Uganda we have to work a little a lot harder to make Christmas traditions that feel like the traditions we are familiar with, but that doesn't stop us from trying. This evening we did some caroling. Honestly it felt pretty strange. We picked four songs and taught them to our Ugandan friends, then wandered the neighborhood. We were all dusty and sweaty by the end. Especially the dads who were carrying their kids. Their shirts were soaked through with sweat. The locals had never seen anything like this. A (mostly white) group of people walking around singing songs they had never heard before. We got plenty of strange looks and a ton of open staring. We walked past and even sang in two different places where people spend most of their time drunk. There are an astounding number of children just left to their own devices who followed us the whole time because they have nothing else to do. I felt awkward and out of place. And hot and a bit annoyed.
But while standing in a grassy field, with chickens and goats and even a cow milling around, surrounded by dirty neighbor kids, and grass thatched houses I couldn't help but really think about the words we were singing...
Long lay the world in sin, and in its error, pining, longing for the return of its King.
The weary world, all around us...desperate for that thrill of hope.
His way is love, and he offers abundant peace. Something this neighborhood really wants.

This isn't just a silly Christmas tradition.  These words that we were singing are huge!

Fall on your knees! Hear the angels from two thousand years ago saying to you now: "I bring you good news of great joy!"  

Lord, even here, don't let me overlook the reasons that I can sing of your Joy to the World. Help us all fall on our knees and your power and glory evermore proclaim! 
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felts its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born.
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother.
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy, in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.  

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