Christmas in Jamaica and Thailand

Central Territory reinforcement personnel provide a window on Christmas celebrations and service around the globe.

Majors Jeff and Valerie Carr

A Jamaican Christmas comes with excitement, a fair amount of shopping, decorations and holiday music. Attending carol and candlelight services and hosting family and friends for special dinners is commonplace. In preparation, families deep clean their homes and even change the colors of their walls. A Christmas tree is decorated, fruitcake is baked, and people enjoy a drink made from the Sorrel plant and a big Christmas dinner featuring roast beef, oxtail, curried goat and ham.

Christmas is filled with opportunities for Salvationists to serve others including caroling at kettles in plazas and neighborhoods, visiting prisons and institutional residences, preparing and distributing Christmas food hampers to those in need, and holding parties for children and older adults. In Kingston, service culminates on Christmas morning with a visit to the University Hospital of the West Indies where officers and soldiers distribute care packages while the band plays.

Many of these traditions aren’t possible this year given government restrictions for health and safety, but as a family we are joining with our community in what is possible believing as the Apostle Peter said: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)

Majors Bruce and Betty Keobounhom

Thailand is a country where 99 percent of the population are Buddhist believers, but we respond to the birth of Jesus with worship by doing a drama of the shepherds and wise men. Most of these dramas are performed in villages and schools with children.

During Christmastime, corps members are excited because they are preparing their hearts for Jesus. They share the love of Christ by giving gifts. They express what they believe and invite people to come and accept Jesus as Lord.

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