Christmas: nothing more, nothing Less

By James.B

QUITO, ECUADOR (ANS - November 28, 2016) -- For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I saw an interesting sign in Atlanta a few weeks ago. It was out front of a lot where they were going to sell Christmas trees, and it said, "Without a traditional tree, it's not Christmas."

My response was: What? Wait a minute. A traditional Christmas tree is what makes or breaks Christmas?

I don't think so!

A number of years ago, I ran into my friend Pablo on the street in Quito, Ecuador, where we were living at the time.

Pablo Camuendo is a Quichua Indian. These people, known as Quichua in Ecuador and Quechua in Bolivia and Peru, are descendants of the Inca Indians who were part of a vast empire that stretched from northern Chile and ran up the high Andes mountains through Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador on into southern Colombia. These are the ones who built the massive mountain jungle town of Machu Picchu.

Since it was just before Christmas, I asked Pablo what he and his family would be doing.

"Well," he said, "On Christmas eve we take off work at noon, so we'll go home. We'll play some fútbol (that's not football, but fútbol -- in other words, soccer). "Then we'll eat a meal with our (extended) family and go to church to worship God and thank him for sending Cristo Jesús (Jesus Christ)."

"That sounds wonderful," I said. "What about Christmas day. What will you do then?"

Playing soccer in Quito"Well," he said, "We'll get up and go to church to worship God and thank him for sending Cristo Jesús (Jesus Christ). Then we'll go home and eat a big dinner with our family (extended family). Then the women will visit and the men and boys will play fútbol."

I asked him if they would be doing anything else for the season, and he said no.

What about decorating the house, would they be putting up a tree and decorating? "Oh no," he said. "We just celebrate the birth of Jesus."

Didn't they send Christmas cards? "No, we don't do that either. We just celebrate the birth of Jesus."

Well, would they be giving each other or the children gifts? "No, we don't do that. We just celebrate the birth of Jesus."

How simple, yet how profound.

A small community of Otavalan Indians, who at that time had been evangelized for only 20 years, simply but profoundly celebrating Christmas by thanking God for sending Jesus Christ.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Photo captions: Pablo with his wife. 2) An impromptu game of soccer in Quito. ( 3) Kenneth D. MacHarg relaxing.

Kenneth MacHarg dreaming of becoming a singerAbout the writer: Kenneth D. MacHarg has served as the pastor of nine international churches in seven countries (Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Panama and the Bahamas) and is the author of the book "Singing the Lord's Songs in a Foreign Land; Biblical Reflections for Expatriates." He lives in Carrollton, Georgia, with his wife Polly, when not serving an international church abroad in an interim capacity. He currently is serving as the Interim Pastor at the International Christian Fellowship in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. His e-mails are: and His blog can be found at: Details of all of his books can be found at

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