A flood of kindergarten and nursery school-age children rush into the tarp shelter. At the helm is Marc Antoine Michel, the energetic and loving Village Partnership Program coordinator in Haiti. A host of parents herd the children from the sides, helping them into their seats as they get ready for their after-school activities. And running around helping everyone with anything they need is a young teenager.
It was almost too good to be true. Seniors at the International Christian Academy, COTN’s secondary school in Malawi, were told they had to take a test, but they didn’t have to study for it and there was no such thing as a wrong answer.
In the United States, nativity plays are as traditional as carols and poinsettias in the Christmas season. Even though these dramatizations are most likely not universal, I can't help imagining what a nativity play would look like starring the children of COTN–Uganda, who I have come to know and love over the years.
When we take away the festal racket of the Advent of Jesus Christ, put down our eggnog, set down our sugar cookies, and peel back the pine-scented veneer of one “holy infant so tender and mild,” we are faced with a very different nativity. A nativity without hand soap or a space heater. Medicate with enough gingerbread or peppermint truffles and you may forget the ugly reality altogether.
Christmas is just around the corner, as I’m sure you are well aware. Probably, your family, like ours, has been quite busy with parties, caroling, band concerts, decorating, shopping, baking, and occasionally grabbing a quiet moment to sit by the fire to reflect on the past year. It was in one of those quiet moments that I was impressed by the nativity set sitting on our window sill—a set I picked up while visiting Uganda five years ago.
Laurie Bunnel only had five days left to raise $10,000. She and her husband David had decided to do something special this fall, to celebrate turning fifty, but it was starting to look like they wouldn’t have the money to pull it off.
As he carefully places a watermelon seed beneath the warm earth in Sierra Leone, Gabriel smiles. He knows the seed will sprout into a plant, which will produce fruit—a delicious snack for him and his friends.
Did you know that you can buy the Christmas gifts you really want, while helping children in need at the same time? Here are four websites that will give to Children of the Nations (COTN) when you shop with them.