-“Christmas is the time to celebrate the love of God.”
The holiday season looks different this year for Ukraine. Hope is more present than ever. Ternopil site director Luba was aware that it was going to be a challenge to get through. This would be the second Christmas since the outbreak of conflict with Russia, the families were not able to celebrate like previous years. However, people in Ukraine are coming together to spread joy their friends and families. “Christmas is the time to celebrate the love of God.”
Although they did not have their big celebration for all the children, people are finding ways to keep the Christmas spirit present through these difficult times. Families are keeping their traditions going, and spending time with their loved ones. Site director says “You cannot take it away from a Ukrainian. Wherever Ukrainians find themselves, they keep and observe the traditions of their ancestors.”
Thanks to everyone who gave to Chalice’s Christmas fund last year, 1920 sponsored children in the Ternopil Site received Christmas gifts last December. ‘St. Nikolas’ was able to deliver delicious treats to the children, they were looking forward to his annual visit! This gave tremendous hope to the youth. “Christmas Funds from Chalice have ensured that every sponsored child has got as Christmas gift, traditionally a package of chocolates, some fruit and cookies.” The children were delighted and felt so grateful to receive such a special gift.
The Ternopil site knew that people were missing the gathering part of the holiday festivities. They decided to organize a small gathering with festive activities for people to participate in. They wanted to boost the spirits of their community with crafty and vibrant art. They are aware of the emotional impact the conflict is taking on the children, and hoped a little creative fun would help them relax and enjoy themselves. Keeping the traditions of Ukraine, field worker Olha organized sponsored children and conducted a master class on making a Christmas star. The star is “an ancient symbol of winter holidays,” Luba says, “popular in Ukraine since the 17th century.” The children created beautiful stars filled with colours. Site director says, “The colored eight-point star is an indispensable attribute of carolers, that symbolizes the star of Bethlehem.”
Ukraine found the good. The Christmas fund donors provided more than just treats. “In unity and prayer, we thank Chalice for the continued material and spiritual support for Ukrainian children, for standing with Ukraine and above all we thank Chalice for keeping us in your daily prayer.”