by Wendy Wagoner
Recently I took part in a Maasai Sherehe (party) for the arrival of children within the family. In typical Tanzanian form it was running late. I was spending time with the baby in the boma while preparations were being made.
Giving the Gift
Guests were greeted through an elaborate process. As the festivities began, the father formed a line followed by other males to present a money gift for the child. As they danced to the front in celebration, their names were stated and the amount given was exclaimed followed by African shouts of cheer—regardless of the amount given.
When the men were finished, the females rose to give as well. Suddenly I felt insecure. Would the amount I give be shouted out to the whole crowd? I wasn’t worried about the dollar amount. I was concerned whether or not my actions would be considered culturally appropriate. I didn’t want to give more than the eldest male gave. But then, like Mary, I chose to follow my heart—because of the child.
Receiving the Gift
Whether wealthy or poor, recipients of God’s promises respond with their hearts. Shouts of joy may have been given in response to the gift, but the true reason people gave was for the sake of the child. This season we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. But in every season we shout for joy because of the promise we have in the life of Christ. May our actions reflect the promise that is yet to come.
Wendy Wagoner is a CMF missionary in Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa ministering in the area of children’s education.