In Africa, summer has started.

by | Nov 27, 2009


One of the strange things about growing up white in Africa is that in December many of us seem to suffer from “seasonal dislocation”. It is a strange affliction that comes from having cultural and historical roots in the colder climes of the Northern hemisphere. So, as a child I grew accustomed in December to singing about “Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh…” and to festooning our house or classrooms with “holly” despite the fact that I had never seen neither snow nor holly. (Actually there was one Holly, but she didn’t seem be one to inspire many songs of Joy) At times the temperatures outside were blistering the tar on the roads whilst we put cotton wool on our Christmas tree to create the right freezing climate indoors. In Zimbabwe at Christmas we maintained many of the customs that our parents and forebears brought with them from Europe, including Eggnog and a large stuffed Turkey dinner which led to a January of unpleasant left over Turkey sandwiches. That was a custom that never should have come to Africa, Turkey still feels like a necessary evil to me, to be endured so that we can get to the presents later. None of which felt appropriate for an African Summer.
However, as time has passed I have come to appreciate the fact that the seasons are different here in Africa, and at the moment despite the global sentiment of pessimism and despair due to the Global war on terror, the global economic downturn etc, I can’t help feeling that Africa is somehow coming to summer not heading to winter. As with most things in Africa it is coming slowly, but at least it is coming. Across South Africa I see hopeful signs that a significant national revival is underway, almost daily I hear of churches and Christians having significant breakthroughs and encounters in and with the presence of God. Recently a friend of mine who is very connected in government circles shared about encouraging trends in our political arena. This year I journeyed to Mozambique and saw first hand the power of God sweeping a nation into the Kingdom of God and marvelled to see young people from the world’s richest and most resourced nations coming to a nation which is crippled with all the problems that beset Africa, poverty, illiteracy, war, famine, etc coming not just to help but coming to learn from Mozambicans, coming to find hope, because, as cliched as it seems, they could tangibly sense and see God working amongst these third world Christians for whom miracles are a daily reality not a distant literary controversy. God is working in Africa and the spiritual hunger provoked by the offering of the watery gruel of either meaningless hedonistic materialism, or sugary New Age feel good philosophies or the cold left overs of a Christianity that was once alive, hot, intimate and life changing that has dominated the cultural menu for so long is driving a new generation to find a more satisfying diet and many are finding it in Africa!
So, this Christmas I am celebrating the fact that things are getting hotter in Africa, even if in the North and the west it may feel cool. There is one thing we can all be thankful for though this December. The King, and I mean Jesus, not Elvis, is alive and his Kingdom is coming.

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