This time of year, many enjoy hearing about Christmas celebrations in other lands ... here is some information from a CIC intercessor:
Our church has been celebrating the Christmas festivities and foods of the different cultures reflected by our church membership. Our congregation has Liberians, Ethiopians, Russians, Belorussians, Laotians, etc. But there is little, in these ethnic celebrations, reflecting our church's remembrance of the persecuted church during this Advent season. So I developed a "Meal in a Jar" reflecting the experience of North Korean Christians' Advent and Christmas--and all year round--to keep the plight of the persecuted Christians in front of them.
So I did up a sheet explaining the North Korean "Meal in a Jar" and how to prepare it. It helps us feel the pain of our hurting family. I re-printed the explanation, to include the URL of the interview that stimulated this project.
I mean to keep the persecuted church before our family at the church I attend.
Food of North Korea Christians this Christmas:
A Meal in a Jar **(see directions to prepare jar below)
Directions to prepare this simple meal:
First, remove the tree bark from the top of the jarred contents. Set aside:
Second, spread remaining contents on a plate or cookie sheet and sift through it to find the grains of sand that may be mixed in the dirt.
Third, when the sand has been gleamed from the dirt, transfer the sand and the tree bark onto a plate and serve cold. No heating available; none required.
Enjoy this simple repast, along with our faithful brothers and sisters of the faith in North Korea.*
When two Christians meet in their daily activities they greet each other silently with no facial signs of recognition, but only using their middle finger to silently draw the sign of the cross in the friend's hand—while shaking hands.
No Christmas celebration is tolerated. Any sign of such a gala event would be punished severely.
North Korean Christians say, with the Psalmist, with the apostle Paul, and with the apostle John:
O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? (Ps. 94:3)
How long must your servant endure? When will you judge those who persecute me? (Ps.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you
will not save? (Habakkuk 1:2)
They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will
judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (North Korean martyrs,
from heaven; Revelation 6:10)
For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling (2 Corinthians 5:2)
[Indeed] He has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago. (Lamentations 3:6)
(Satellite view of North Korea at night)
In our church, we are regaled with opulent videos and tales of Christmas around the world, yet the family members who dwell in darkness are forgotten.
So, enjoy the Christmas meal of our North Korean family, and
(* I was searching for something on the internet and watched an interview with a Christian woman who recently had escaped from North Korean authorities and related the fact that our family members in that benighted country are eating sand (when they can find it) and tree bark (when they can find a tree that has not had all its bark already stripped).
** How to prepare A Meal in a Jar
- 1 pint-sized or slightly smaller clear glass jar with screw-on lid
- Tree bark (can be purchased or obtained through scavenger hunt in a park or neighborhood – where bark may have fallen off a tree)
- Small amount of black dirt (possibly potting soil without the white vermiculite specks that sometimes come mixed in with the soil)
- Small amount of clean sand (i.e., without debris)
- Christmas-motif ribbon to tie around the neck of the jar
In a separate pan or container, mix the black dirt and sand together thoroughly so that one would have to pick through the dirt to find the sand granules.
Then, place a half jar layer of the dirt/sand in the bottom of the jar.
On top of the dirt mixture, fill the rest of the jar with pieces of bark to fit the remaining space in the jar.
Screw the lid on the jar. Inspect to ensure that the two layers of jar ingredients are distinct (each easily visually distinguished from the other).
Tie the decorative ribbon on the neck of the jar.