Dear Friends at Portland First United Methodist Church,
Christmas is a time of joy and celebration. It is a time for families to be together. More importantly, however, Christmas is a time for us to remember that God sent his Son for our salvation. The birth of Jesus was the rebirth of hope for humankind.
At Christmas Teca and I remember all those who are important in our lives and who help us in our ministry. We are particularly grateful to our Supporting Churches who enable us to serve here in Brazil. We want to thank each of you and wish you the most joyous holiday season.
Today was a special day. Nearly 350 children and teenagers from 9 of our local Shade and Fresh Water projects here in Belo Horizonte spent a day together in celebration and fun. The entire morning was a Christmas pageant with each project making a presentation for the whole group. It was fascinating to see how each project attentively watched each group’s songs, music, dance and theatrical presentations. Sometimes, people think that religion is for adults. They think that children are too young to understand the deeper meaning of Christmas. Watching the children, however, I could see that they understood the true meaning of Christmas.
For those of us who grew up in America, the story of Jesus born in a manger is something distant. Can any of us really imagine being placed in a cattle food trough for a crib? Slum children however, do not see this as something so very distant. Some sleep three or four to a bed. They or their friends often live in makeshift shacks. Just as there was no place for Jesus to be born, many of the children also understand that they are left out in this world.
For many of the Shade and Fresh Water children, Christ’s beginnings seem like something that could have happened in their own neighborhood. If the King of Kings could be born in a humble setting, they too may be important. So at Christmas time children in our projects sing and dance and say, “Jesus can be born here Brazil”. Let us pray that as we celebrate Jesus’ birth that despite all his glory he is a friend and understands each of us in our daily struggles.
We look forward to hearing from you and want to wish each of you a very very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Your friends in Christ,
Gordon and Teca Greathouse