Christmas in Kendari, Indonesia is a special occasion, not because of the presents on Christmas day oh no no no there is much more to Christmas than this and I got to experience it first hand. When I first arrived in Kendari 4 months ago the Christmas preparations already began, yes that is how serious the people are. The celebrations started on the weekend of the 1st December…
My program in Kendari allowed me to visit various churches, as such I was invited by the youth to attend their Christmas celebration which they plan months in advance. The services are held outside Kendari in various village churches where the Youth are involved in preparing the service and interacting with the local youth. This to me showed the true spirit of Christmas, coming together and helping each other showing love as God has shown us by giving us his son on Christmas Day.
I had the privilege of attending a Christmas service on another Island with one of the Youth Groups, here I got to experience a service with all the glitz and glam of a Broadway production. The singing was amazing, the backdrop eye catching, they even had smoke and ofcourse everything was filmed.
The Christmas plays are also well put together delivering the core message of Christmas but some had a little twist from the usual birth of Jesus but rather focusing on why Jesus was born
There were however similarities from my home (Cape Town and Elim) in the form of the lighting of candles by the children and singing Silent Night under candle light…yeah seems no matter where you are some things are the same which is amazing.
On Christmas Eve I attended the service at the biggest congregation of the Gepsultra Church in Kendari set against the backdrop of The Garden of Eden the Christmas play focused on the Original Sin and the reason why God sent us his Son Jesus. Indonesia has various cultures and tribes, I enjoyed that they added this element into the drama too by dressing up in various traditional costumes and at the end we danced with some Papuan dancers.
Christmas day was similar to South Africa, we attended the Church service, here I dressed up as Joseph and was part of the welcome procession and a photobooth at the end of the service, my good deed for the day. I visited various friends and family homes and did the usual….eat, eat and sleep…yip another similarity with South Africa.
Just when I thought the celebrations were over on the 27th December another service was held combining all churches within Kendari even the Governor of Kendari was in attendance.
Yes it has been a busy season but enjoyable, I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.