If you are wondering what the Christmas season is like in South Africa, here is a reflection from Joe, written while he waited for the arrival of Christmas:
December: Quiet, relaxed, open, relationships, singing, dancing, waiting, Jesus. These are a few words that have been mulling through my mind during this past month as I have been preparing for the Christmas season. This December has been unlike any other in my life. Most of South Africa is on Holiday, not because of Christmas but because it is the end of the year. Schools and Creches are closed due to summer break, businesses closing, waiting for the New Year. I have found myself with a lot of time on my hands, time I do not always know what to do with. Although I try to fill it with friends, excursions to new parts of Mabopane, or spending time with my host family, there is always time left to fill. This Christmas will be different. I do not know what I am doing or where I am going. It does not feel like Christmas to me. I have to constantly remind myself to do my Daily Advent devotions, or to listen to Christmas music, which I love so dearly. There is rarely exchanging of gifts, and barely any Christmas music (When there is, its always about snow. Kinda funny when its 90 degrees outside). But the absence of an “American”/”Western” Christmas has forced me to ponder this season. Not necessarily what I miss, but the meaning, what is important. I do not know how or when, but I wait and pray for God to reveal himself on Christmas. To reveal himself through Jesus’ birth, but also through the people I encounter and the memories I make. A Quiet Christmas, One I will remember and cherish.