News & Stories


Christmas – Alone in Japan

The Christmas season in Japan is different to what I’m used to in Germany. But I love the freedom to explore and celebrate in different ways.

From November in Japan, light displays called Winter Illuminations are put up in cities. People enjoy taking pictures of the beautiful lights. It’s much more elaborate than in Germany (but I’m told, not as much as in America).

KFC is the dish to have for Christmas, so you have to make your reservation way in advance to have chicken on Christmas day. I never did that, but always tried to have KFC at one point during Advent season.

Christmas isn’t usually celebrated by Japanese people with their family (although it’s becoming popular when the kids are small). But young couples usually go on special dates (Disney World is busy on Christmas Eve).

I was single for my first three years as a missionary, but I never really struggled with that. In Japan it doesn’t feel weird to go to places alone. But I remember one Christmas I went to a Christmas market by myself, I felt really out of place—it was full of couples and I was the only one on my own.

Christmas—a love like no other
But I usually spent the Christmas day with other OMF Missionaries who invited us singles over, or with other single Japanese friends. I’m so blessed to have people around me that become like my family, and learn from their cultures how they celebrate Christmas.

Christmas—a love for all in Japan
And in all those differences I realized, that the overall theme of love is the same everywhere.
When I lived in Yokohama I was part of a German choir—Japanese ladies who wanted to sing German songs. I got to invite them to church for Christmas and they performed some songs during the service. Some of the ladies also started coming to a monthly German tea time where we could share things from the Bible as well. When Covid started, the meetings came to a stop. But I hope that the seed that was sown will bring fruit in its time.

What a great opportunity we have at Christmas time to let Japanese people know that the greatest love came down to earth over 2,000 years ago.

By Jessy, an OMF missionary
#OMFJapan #PrayforJapan #ChristmasJapan

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