Imagine a child on Christmas morning having absolutely nothing to open. There’s no food to prepare for a family celebration; there’s nothing to make the day special. For children in a remote community in Burkina Faso, this would be their reality if it weren’t for their local church.
Pastor Barthelemy’s church partners with Compassion to run a child development centre, where children attend weekly activities that support their health, well-being and education. Every year, thanks to the generosity of Compassion donors, the church hosts a Christmas celebration where the children act out the Christmas story.
Last year, 17-year-old Oseé took his role as Joseph very seriously. “It wasn’t easy to stand in the boots of Joseph,” he says with a smile. “I needed to obey God, to take care of Mary and protect baby Jesus. My role was about protecting the Saviour of the world!”
The role of Mary was played by Reine, aged 15. “It was fun to hold baby Jesus in my arms,” she says. “And I liked the pastor’s message that Jesus came to save the lost.”
After the service, everyone enjoys a delicious Christmas meal, and each child is given a gift which has been especially chosen for them.
“The children love our Christmas celebration because they receive gifts that most caregivers can’t afford to buy,” says Project Director, Pauline. “And their parents are thankful because the project helps them provide a Christmas to remember for their children.”
“I love to eat rice and meat,” says 8-year-old Nadege. “Today at Christmas, I got to have a big plate of rice and fried chicken with my friends!”
What makes this time even more special is that the church’s Christmas party isn’t just for children sponsored by Compassion: everyone is invited.
Pastor Barthelemy waits to greet community members as they arrive. He says, “you can hear the singing, clapping, and laughter for miles! We have our Christmas ceremony with the children singing [to everyone] and performing the Christmas story. Meanwhile, a group of church volunteers prepares the lunch. Last year, we fed 700 people!”
This is how Christmas celebrations around the world allow our local church partners to bless their communities with practical care and by sharing the Good News that ‘God is with us’ through Jesus Christ. For some people, this might be the first time they’ve ever heard the gospel.
“Jesus is the reason for the season,” says Pastor Barthelemy, “and I won’t miss the opportunity to share God’s message of love... I feel happy that the children can recite Bible verses, sing Christmas songs and perform drama. It’s the best way to teach them the story of the birth of Jesus Christ…We share the love of God and Jesus’ story—the celebration is truly awesome!”
God is with us. Help churches share the Good News with their communities—support our Christmas Appeal today.