An African-style Christmas is very different from a typical UK one.

Our church services are often cut short to allow more time for cooking the festive meal and celebrating with our families at home. But in Africa, Christmas is a time for big church conventions lasting many hours, often with multiple speakers and a whole host of visiting choirs! Prisons, churches and Sunday school groups often put on elaborate Nativity plays with colourful costumes and imaginative scripts. It is very much a public celebration. The average family would not exchange gifts at home, but would try to find new clothes for everyone and have a special meal with meat, instead of the normal plain fare based on vegetables or dried fish.

At Nyangombe, in NW Zambia, the main church service on Christmas Day will give a lot of time to the children. In Sunday school, they will have practised some special songs and learnt Bible verses to recite – some youngsters learn quite long passages off by heart. The children’s fun will actually start on Christmas Eve, with a traditional candlelight parade around Nyangombe before their Christmas party, which ends with fireworks. There will also be a Youth Camp between Christmas and New Year.

However, the focus is not just on the children and young people at Nyangombe. On Christmas Day, after the morning service, the church ladies will get busy cooking a tasty Christmas feast for lonely elderly people, widows and widowers in the area to come and share.

However you plan to celebrate, we wish all our CAM International supporters a very happy Christmas, filled with Christ’s joy and peace.