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It’s not too late to think about Christmas December 1, 2021

Posted by Pete B in Uncategorized.

Advent has started so it’s no longer too early to be thinking about Christmas, but it’s also not too late for churches to think about how they can be a bit more multicultural and a bit more multilingual in making everyone in their church feel welcome and included.

[update Dec 29 – technically it’s still not too late to think about Christmas. The 12 days of Christmas ‘conveniently’ link the dates for the western and the eastern churches. You could also put a link to this post in your calendar so you have links to these resources ready for 2022 …oh, and one more thing – Jesus is for life, not just for Christmas, so it’s okay to tell the story at other times too, especially if people haven’t heard it before!]

A site I often recommend to raise awareness of Christmas traditions from around the world is WhyChristmas.com . This is an easy thing to share on social media or in a newsletter or Christmas card, and start a discussion on different Christmas traditions.

A couple of years ago I posted on how to say Merry Christmas in many languages.

Last year I started a youtube playlist of Christmas carols that have been translated into many different languages. I’m planning to add a few dozen more and mix them up a bit so that there is a bit more variety of song as well as language. This playlist Multilingual Christmas (translated carols), features versions of just a few songs starting with Persian, Navajo, Lotha, ASL, Telugu, German, Hindi, Russian, Arabic, Nepali, Samoan, and a few bits in English. One of my current favourites is a seven language version of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.

[update Dec 12th] – The playlist now includes over 40 languages including additions in French, Indonesian, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Twi, Latin, Gaelic, Slovak, Albanian, Welsh, Kapampangan, Bengali, Malay.

A few of the older songs started out in Latin and German, and in another list I hoped to include some of my favourite Christmas songs from around the world that aren’t (yet) so international but others have perhaps already done this quite well. Songs to Serve has created a great and growing playlist Christmas Songs from Different Cultures. Another Global Christmas Songs 2021 has an accompanying reading guide compiled by ethnodoxoligist, Paul Neeley, with a separate post for each song.

Traditional carols may offer good outreach possibilities as the tunes are recognisable by communities worldwide that have at least been exposed to western forms of Christianity and can actually be played and sung in shopping centres not just in churches. (Glory to God in the High st). Again individual songs or the link to the playlist can also be shared on social media.

And just in case you were wondering….

While the most translated modern Christian song is The Blessing, the most translated Christmas carol is probably Silent Night which has apparently been translated into over 140 languages. A comprehensive list with lyrics is at silentnight.web.za .


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