"It is only the poor and hungry, those most aware they need someone to come on their behalf, who can celebrate Christmas. " Archbishop Oscar Romero - martyred

If I have said it once, I've said it one hundred times, "Africa is my favorite place on earth!" I can't remember any word past the first line of the Leon Russell's rock classic, "I've been a lot of places in my life and times..." Well, perhaps I do remember more, but past the first few words the message loses it appropriateness, so I generally stop there.

Africa is my favorite place on earth.
As I was discussing this with my friends (who have made Ghana their home for the past 16 years) I was trying to pinpoint just what it is about the place and the people that I love so much.

I recalled images vivid in my mind from my summer trip to Tanzania. Women who had walked for 4 hours to hear what "these guests" would have to share with them from the Lord. I thought of the moment when they jumped (literally) out of their seats and screamed and wept when we told them we were giving them a Bible. I shared with my friend my embarrassment that I had never felt that way about the Word of God.

I love Africa, because being here, among it's people, in a land where our Savior found refuge - I appreciate "the possessions in our hands have little to do with the peace in our hearts.*"

I have been blessed to celebrate Christmas here in a land that knows great pain and poverty. I came to share the miracle of His entrance into our humanity as an infant.

My greatest gift this Christmas, was finally learning why I love being here so much; what "they" know that I don't. The Africans know what it is like to be hungry. I am not even referring to lack of food. The women in Tanzania responded the way they did because they hunger "for every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Why else would they walk so far and weep for a gift that gathers dust on most of our shelves?

Jesus knew hunger in the wilderness. He understood thirst. He came for us even though we didn't know we needed Him to.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."

It's hard be hungry when you live in the "Land of Plenty."

Waiting for the Lord's feast
Charlynn in flight

* "I need Africa more than Africa needs me."

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