As foreign hands
Take a simple manger
From hut to hut.
Passing seasons bring
And fearless smiles of freedom
As Emmanuel Himself
Shines in forgiven hearts.
Little children's memories reach
Past empty stockings and their mother's quiet tears
Across the ocean
To scenes of family gatherings and roast beef dinners
Where snowflakes and tinsel dance and sparkle.
And in the African night
Their foreign voices sing
The old familiar carols
With a string of white lights on a thorn bush
To celebrate the arrival of the Light of the World.
This poem is dedicated to my sister and her family who went to Tanzania, East Africa to share the gospel with the Datoog people in June 1997. That first December 25th, they took a small nativity of Christ from hut to hut and read the Christmas narrative prepared with their language helper. For the first time, this village heard the story of Jesus. Over the years, a church and school were established.
I also want to dedicate these words to missionaries all over the world who feel a little homesick over the holidays. May God give you His grace as you faithfully serve the "Light of the World."