On December 20th we had a program for kids from our church and the surrounding community. There were also some new families who came from the nearby social assistance housing. We decorated, had snacks, music, games and prizes. Every child that came got a gift that had been provided to us by Samaritan’s Purse (so a big thank-you if you were someone who filled a Christmas box this year). It was a fun afternoon. Part of the program was sharing about the importance of Christmas. Even though it was oriented towards children, the adults in the room were captivated. The presenter, Martin, kept saying “the way the adults looked at me – they just stayed focus”. All together it was a great relationship building time.
Then on December 21st we had a Christmas lunch for the entire church-plant. Again it was a fantastic chance for people to take the time to get to know one another better. There is something about Christmas time and food that make people more social, and more bonding as a church family is something very important right now.
On the 25th we had a Christmas service. Slovak’s celebrate on the 24th so really it was only our Christmas morning that was a bit thrown off!
We celebrated Slovak Christmas on the 24th in the village of Obsolovce with the Armitage’s and their Slovak family. It was especially nice for us to be in a home setting this Christmas. We got to eat the traditional meal (for the record, carp is ok). Then after dinner a bell rings to signify that Ježiško (little baby Jesus) has snuck in and put gifts under the tree.
On Christmas Day we stuck to our Canadian roots. Amber cooked a fabulous meal and we had Slovak friends over for dinner. It was our turn to watch as people were exposed to new holiday foods: sweet potatoes were a mixed success, pumpkin pie was met with forced smiles and murmurs of “how can pumpkin be a dessert”, and stuffing was thought to be a little gross by some “you cook it inside of the dead bird?”. We called our families and finished the night with a viewing of The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. We got to repeat this fine Christmas meal on the 26th as the Armitage’s celebrated Canadian style.
A great first Christmas in Slovakia.