by Mark


We are sitting on the 15th floor of an apartment building in UlaanBaatar watching the fireworks go off around us.  There is no official show, just the big mortars bought on the street. Its strange because in Mongolia most of what we consider Christmas does not start being celebrated until the 26th.  Santa shows up on New Years (Grand Father Winter), the Christmas tree is the New Years’ Tree  Why?  Part of it is the Russian influence during the years of the CCCP or USSR as you know it in English, Christmas was stripped of any religious meaning and shifted towards New Years to even further remove it from any religious significance.  Mongolia still retains much of that tradition.  However it seems that Christmas is growing in popularity.  I think in part its because of western movies and the inter-net.  Many here talk about THE MOVIE, you know the one with the little boy at Christmas (HOME ALONE). On Christmas we watched out the window as parents dropped off their children at pre-school.  Its strange to be walking through Nomin in Darhan and realize they are singing Christmas carols- in English over the loud speakers. I was walking into the store heard a Mongolian singing the words in English.  Did they understand it?  Who knows.   But than again I’m reminded that that is why we are here.  There is a wonderful celebration that is to be embraced.  There is worship to be given.  There is a beauty that is to be seen.  There is hope beyond all else to be imagined.

No eye has seen and no ear has heard nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared.

Happy New Year