The Dao people celebrated Christmas with three days of joyful feasting and testimonies about God’s provision of a Savior.
"If the day that Jesus’ cord was cut had never taken place, how different things would be for us Dao people today," said Paatoma speaking to those who had gathered to celebrate Christmas.
"We would even now be living as if we didn’t have any eyes. In fact we would be as a person without any head at all because we would be as those who couldn’t see, hear about, believe or even follow the good trail that Jesus brought us, that trail that leads to eternal life."
Many Daos had traveled for two days to see what the celebration was about. They came clan by clan into the village, hooting and hollering in typical Dao fashion, dancing in circles while holding their bows, arrows, machetes and various weapons above their heads and hitting the bamboo shafts of their arrows with the palms of their hands. This signifies that a great celebration is beginning -- the "Yesus onee daata nagoo" celebration -- the day Jesus’ cord was cut, the day of His birth.
"We feasted on the meat of wild pig, cassowary, small kangaroo, cuscus and many tropical bird types," wrote missionary Scott Phillips, "some of which had been killed many weeks earlier and then wrapped in leaves and placed in the ground so as to preserve it for the great feast. We also ate rice and many various types of garden and jungle leaves, potatoes and red fruit."
Excitement crackled in the air as clan groups worked together to prepare for the day set aside to honor Jesus’ birth. They sang songs of praise to their Creator for sending His only Son to die for them.
One sobering fact was that many of those from far-away villages had not yet had the opportunity to know and understand the Gospel message. Apiyawogi put his arm around one of the men who traveled many miles to attend the celebration and said, "They are here because they want to know why we celebrate. They have come because they want to understand how they can follow the trail that leads to the Creator’s good place above the sky. They want to hear about Jesus."
Pray that the Dao believers will recognize the need to hike across the rugged mountain to take the Gospel to those who have not yet heard the message.