CHRISTMAS in MALAWI: Written by Titus Lloyd
Christians celebrate Christmas all over the world. Malawi is no different. Since Malawi is in the southern hemisphere we have reversed seasons from North America. December is the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season and the temperature is very warm. We do not think of cold and snow, we think of heat and big rainstorms!
Malawi is the ninth poorest country in the world and the end of dry season also means people’s maize from the last harvest is starting to run out. In some places the only readily available food is mangos. Most employers in Malawi pay once a month, at the end of the month. In December, for many, payday comes at he middle of the month. This is so people have money for the holidays.
Although the New Year is actually celebrated as a bigger holiday, Christmas is a special time for Christians in Malawi. It is a time of year to buy a new outfit to wear to the Christmas morning service. It is time for celebration with food different from the normal fare: rice instead of nsima, meat instead of beans. For many this means January will be a difficult month because most of the resources will be spent for the holidays and payday won’t come again until the end of January.
Ministry this time of year can be a challenge. One reason is because the start of the rains means it is planting season. If fields are planted too early, the seeds will die in the ground. If too late, it will be difficult to plant because the fields will be too muddy. When food is running low, there is an urgency to plant the next crop! Another reason is the lack of resources this time of year. Is if difficult to host a seminar with many churches when you are struggling to provide food for your own home. These are the kind of issues that must be taken into account when planning ministry programs. Some of our churches plan a new year’s celebration on New Years day, but it requires special planning to make it a reality.
As you celebrate Christmas this year, please take time to pray for believers around the world. Pray that the gospel will continue to be spread as we share about how Christ came to earth to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.