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Christmas Devotional // Cambodia

Christmas in Cambodia
Countries all around the world celebrate Christmas—but they don’t always know what it’s about.

Why do we give Christmas gifts?
Christmas is about Jesus’ birthday. To celebrate, we give each other gifts. Do you know why?

It has to do with the gospel story—the story of the world and how Jesus came to rescue it. When we remember the gospel story or share it with someone else, we start by explaining who God is and who we are.

God is perfect and all-powerful. He created the world, including us. But we sinned. We broke God’s law and because of that, when we die, we will go to Hell.

But even though we disobeyed and hurt God, He wanted to rescue us from going to Hell. So He sent His only Son Jesus to earth. Jesus lived a perfect life, and then died on the cross to pay for our sins, taking our punishment, rescuing us.

Jesus is the greatest present we could ever receive! He not only rescues us from eternal death, but He is our Friend while we are on earth, making our lives sweet with His presence. And God gave us this gift for free—there is no way we could ever pay Him back, and we don’t have to. When we celebrate Christmas, we remember God’s greatest gift and thank Jesus for His sacrifice.

What’s really sad is that in some parts of the world, like Cambodia, people don’t understand what Christmas is. They don’t realize that Jesus is a present for us!

Why do we celebrate Christmas?
What is your favorite part of Christmas?
What does your family do for Christmas that reminds you of Jesus?

What is Christmas like in Cambodia?
Christmas is not an official holiday in Cambodia. Most people here are Buddhists, so they do not celebrate Jesus’ birth. There are some places, like big hotels and stores, that put up Christmas decorations for people from America or Europe who are traveling. 

Christians in Cambodia do observe Christmas. In fact, some of our friends who run the Grace Center house for students celebrate Christmas every year and invite people who don’t know Jesus!

They have a worship service with extra activities related to Jesus’ birthday. They sing Christmas songs and dance. Then they share the gospel story, and these Cambodians hear about God’s gift to us. After the worship service, they give gifts to the youth there and have a meal together. 

The Grace Center staff use these Christmas programs to present Jesus to Cambodians who don’t know Him. This is a great opportunity because it is not easy to meet with nonbelievers here, since they normally aren’t interested in giving their time. But when staff invite them to a Christmas celebration, they join because they know it is a special occasion.

How should we pray for Cambodia at Christmas time?
A lot of Cambodians don’t know Jesus. They believe in a different religion that doesn’t give them hope or joy. They don’t know what it’s like to be given a great gift out of love. Think how sad and lonely they must be.

Pray that God will use Christians in Cambodia to share His gift of Jesus with Cambodians. Pray that they can know Jesus and experience true joy and love in Him.

How should we pray for Cambodia?
What is your prayer for the people in Cambodia today?