The Advent gift on Day 22 of Sharing the Joy comes from the Being A Multicultural Church Circle.
Fijian-born Ofa Foiakau takes us to Christmas in a Fijian village, with its sense of celebration, relationship and selfless giving.
No Christmas tree.
No fairy lights.
No Santa Claus.
No pre-Christmas parties.
No roast turkey.
No Christmas fruit cake.
Leading up to Christmas, families gather during mealtimes to eat with visiting family and friends. At night the village is dark, with the exception of a few ill-lit homes powered by personal generators, but the echoes of Christmas carols from the distant church reminds us that Christmas is near.
On Christmas Eve, after lotu (church), local children and the church choir walk around the village greens singing carols. Villagers come out to drape singers with fine fabrics, gifts of soli (money) and food, baked scones and pies, gestures of appreciation.
A strong sense of celebration, relationship and selfless giving.
Christmas is a day of worship. Apart from food preparation, the village stands still. Lotu, followed by a feast, and then time of rest, older men usually reclined, while women gather under a breezy mango tree for a nap before preparing dinner.
The day after Christmas brings festivities, kava and fun at the beach, and for that small moment, forget the dreaded rising sea levels that are eroding the once pristine foreshores gifted by the Creator.
Christmas in the village is deeply reserved for the revered Son of God. There is an absence of commercialisation. The atmosphere in the village is one of nature and simplicity, humbling one to recognise the majesty of the Lord and remember the first Advent.
It is my hope that the people of my village and her neighbours continue to enjoy the serenity of the island and her virtues in the waitui (ocean).
It is my prayer that our Pacific voices be heard and made visible to world leaders as they make critical decisions that affect our beautiful villages.