Christmas in Kenya

In Kenya, Christmas celebrations begin early. Many Kenyans may have moved to Central Kenya for jobs and marriages, but once the holidays come, it’s time to go home. 


By December 12 each year, cities seem deserted and stores are closed- everyone has already begun the long trips home. Families who live hours away from each other are reunited. Young children play with cousins and siblings. The women begin cooking, and the men enjoy one another’s fellowship. Brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and parents all come together to celebrate Christmas.

For a few weeks now, stores have been selling out on their Christmas supplies. Mothers have bought each of their children a Christmas suit and a brand new pair of shoes. Children count down the days in anticipation, eagerly waiting for the day when they can wear their new clothes.

Homes aren’t filled with Christmas trees or nativity scenes, but they are overflowing with the warmth and fellowship of family and friends. Businesses hang up Christmas posters and decorate the fronts of their stores with balloons.

Homes aren’t filled with Christmas trees or nativity scenes, but they are overflowing with the warmth and fellowship of family and friends.

As you drive down the road, you see pop-up stands selling goats. The best Christmas dinners are always celebrated with a fresh goat roasted over the charcoals called ”nyamachoma.” Preparations are made for the big Christmas meal. Cabinets are filled with the best rice, beef, chicken, and the supplies to cook warm, fresh chapati. The cooking will begin long before the time for the celebration.

When Christmas Eve finally arrives, children and parents alike don their Christmas clothes and head to church for a Christmas Eve service. Families spend the entire evening at church, singing songs about the birth of the Savior. The celebration continues until midnight- Christmas has finally arrived! All around the town, you can hear the sounds of celebration- of singing and dancing, cheers and fireworks. The Christ child has come to earth.

Christmas day is filled with the fellowship of family, warm food, and laughter. The church celebration continues with another service that morning. Families come together to praise God for the gift he gave us so long ago.

The traditions and the foods may be different, but even across the globe, we can unite with our Kenyan brothers and sisters in this great celebration. Christ has come to earth! The redemption of our souls has been accomplished. Our God has made a way, and we will never be the same.


Megan Gaminde

Megan is spending her 20’s doing as much travel as her job at Grace Church will allow. She is incapable of letting a day go by without a physical challenge, is terrified of being stuck in an airport without a good book, and holds a particular bitterness towards hikes that don’t lead to waterfalls. Megan attends our Downtown campus.