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Christmas Traditions Around the World

From Del’s Journal: Christmas Day 1998

“To love our own soul opens us to receive the Divine. Praying without acting is a spiritual procrastination, a process of waiting for a miracle outside ourselves. This is a denial of our own empowerment, power of choice, and personal responsibility. God can do no more for us than God can do through us.”


I asked some of SIA’s international partners about how they spend Christmas. Their traditions are perhaps not all that different from your traditions!

Camily Wedende (Eldoret, Kenya): This Christmas season people are preparing to celebrate with families, friends, and relatives. Here people eat ugali (maize flour dish) and meat and some hen and attend the church.

Canaan Gondwe (Mzimba, Malawi): In my family, we attend a church service where we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus and renew our fellowship with Him and friends. We eat special meals local and exotic and dance gospel tunes.

Dennis Kiprop (Ilula Village, Kenya): I think Christmas here in Kenya is interesting. On 25th all the church members meet in the morning. The pastor reminds the congregation the importance of the day, some groups come with lots of Christmas chorals and songs like, Joy to the World and Born in a Manger.

During this day, people will be seen in new clothes and often celebrations are done at homes after church service. In our case, we usually have a fellowship as family where we organize a Christmas party with lots of food and soft drinks like sodas, ice creams etc. and most favorite foods like peas, rice, meat, beans, and (my favorite!) is Chapati (fried bread).

Another important thing that marks this occasion is when family, friends, and well-wishers visit children’s homes and the hospital to share their tribute of love and give out food and Christmas presents to those who are less fortunate in the society. They will also make them feel important and loved. On 26th most of us unravel the gifts and Christmas cards and evaluate how the Christmas was.


In 2003, Del and Lucile included the following note of inspiration in their Christmas letter:

May the Spirit of our Holy days enrich our lives with a greater fulfillment of the Christ within each one of us this new year and for eternity. We pray for each of you a daily feeling, experiencing and a greater realization of “Christ in us, the hope of Glory.” You are important to God and a blessing to us. God’s love and ours, dear ones, Del and Lucile

Each year, Del would write a Christmas letter as a way to stay in touch with his many friends around the U.S. and the world. By 1967, Del and Bebe’s letters “reached a ‘circulation’ of 2,000!”  — From George Furniss’s unpublished biography of Del.

You can read more of Del’s writings on our website:

Bebe and Del holding fans in Japan

Bebe and Del in Japan in 1956-7

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