Zach Cann

Zach Cann

Missionary sent out by Grace Bible Church

Just after the Grinch “stole” Christmas comes one of the greatest lines about what Christmas is not:

He hadn’t kept Christmas from coming, it came! Somehow or other it came just the same. And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.

I’ve had similar puzzlings. Christmas came to Papua New Guinea. It came without cold. It came without lights. It came without cocoa or wintry sights. It’s hard to imagine. How could this be? It came without gifts stacked high by a tree! But somehow or other it came just the same.

And praise God that his Son came! It does not matter where we live or what our traditions might be or how many gifts we have stacked under the tree or how much time we have with family. All that matters is that God’s Son came. Everything else is momentary and fleeting. The wonderful truth of his coming matters forever.

And Christmas did indeed come to our corner of the world. Our family woke up with the sun around 6:30. We had oatmeal and cinnamon roles for breakfast. We sat by our make-shift Christmas tree and read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2 and the Children’s Story-Book Bible. We read “The Innkeeper” by John Piper, which is not only a Cann family tradition, but also a great reminder that Jesus’ coming was a coming to die. Then we opened gifts and Cass made french toast for lunch. It has been a wonderful time of celebration! In the afternoon we spent time with the Dodds and Lehmans and got invited to our neighbors house for Papua New Guinean songs and sweets.

And while the Christmas season has been different here, it has also been good. There have been fewer distractions and demand, and we’ve had more time to ponder the gift of Jesus, the Christ. Having left the comforts and familiarity of America for the challenges and differences of Papua New Guinea, I appreciate with a renewed sense of awe that God himself left the joys and immortality of heaven for the struggles and death associated with living among us with the purpose of rescuing us. That God Almighty would become Emmanuel, God with us, is such comforting news to those who face the pains and persecutions of this life as they look forward.

What a joy it is to be here in Papua New Guinea on this Christmas day with the hope of sharing this good news of Jesus to a people who have yet to hear about the first Christmas (or even their dire need for the first Christmas) in their own language.

Here are some pictures from our first Christmas in PNG:

Jude waiting for Christmas festivities to start:

Jude pointing to our gifts:

Family Devotions:

Opening gifts:

Cass making French Toast and cutting fresh mango:

Jude waited patiently for our special lunch to start:

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