Posted by: Jo | December 23, 2011

Away from Home At Christmas

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given …” (Isaiah 9:6)

For most North Americans, Christmas conjures up images of crisp, cold days, snowy weather and snuggling beside a roaring fire, but for our family one Christmas in particular was far from traditional and probably was the most memorable one we ever experienced.

My husband had been appointed by the Australian government to take care of the dental needs of the indigenous people and the expatriates on the small island of Nauru situated in the Central Pacific five miles from the equator. We arrived at the beginning of December with our three small daughters by cargo boat and our first impression after stepping off the air conditioned boat was the oppressive heat. Heat that seemed to weigh one down and drain every ounce of energy that one possessed.

As December progressed I wondered how we would cope with Christmas as we were far from family and friends. By Christmas eve we were very nostalgic and went to bed that night all feeling a little lost and lonely. Just as dawn was breaking on Christmas morning, I woke from a restless sleep as deep sleep was difficult to achieve with the humid heat and the whirring of the ceiling fan. As the heavy perfume of the frangipani (local flower) drifted through the window, I was startled to hear rustling noises outside our house. The next minute the air was filled with the sound of the most beautiful voices I had ever heard.

“Oh Come Let Us Adore Him”

The familiar words echoed around me and for one foolish moment I thought angels had been sent to sing to us. Pulling back the curtains, I saw to my amazement our front garden filled with Nauruans. Their shiny brown faces were breaking into crinkly smiles. It surely could have been a heavenly host as the pure notes soared into the air from these dusky angels.

As my husband and my sleepy children hurried out to greet them, we were treated again as the familiar hymns of our childhood brought about that true feeling of peace and reassurance that indeed it was Christmas morning no matter where we were.

Later as we gathered in our house for coffee with our new friends, we were overwhelmed with the generosity of these people. As sitting on the floor on woven mats was their preferred seating we also sat and were surprised to be draped with bolts of material. We later learned this was a welcome to newcomers to the island.

When one of the very large Nauruan ladies scooped my little girl into her lap for a cuddle, I suddenly realised that welcoming the Christ Child together with these new friends transcended all barriers of tradition, race and culture.

The birth of that special child had united us in love.

“Oh Come Let Us Adore Him”


  1. Jo, I love it when God shows up in those new places we serve Him.


  2. Hi Jo what a wonderful memory of Christmas and with total strangers. Just goes to prove the wonder and vastness of Gods love. Have a wonderful Christmas Jo and look forward to seeing every one in the New Year.
    Much love Jennifer


  3. This is my favourite blog so far Mum! Brought back wonderful memories. So sorry I won’t be there for Christmas this year!


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