It’s getting close to Christmas 2010. For many, their thoughts are focusing more on family and how the holy day will be spent. Pastors and church leaders are also getting more concerned about Christmas Eve services. For many, is this as far as their Christmas thinking gets?

Last night, I watched the movie about the lost boys of Sudan in, God Grew Tired of Us. This movie was made in 2006 and was a Sundance Film Festival award winner. It is a documentary about the history of Sudan, its violence in recent decades, the thousands of young boys who left their families behind in trying to “live” by migrating first to Ethiopia and later Kenya, and for some, to America.

Their story is more incredible than I previously knew! At one time, 27,000 children were traveling and living together. They were the only family that they had. The group divided themselves up into smaller units that were led by the older boys, 11-13 years old. How they survived their incredible journey to Kenya is unbelievable!

Of the hundreds of boys accepted into the U.S., the film focuses on three: Panther, Daniel and John. It shows their departure preparation, travel, initial introduction to America, and follow-ups for three years. When they first arrive, you can see how big their eyes get to experiencing how to use electricity, running water, toilets, refrigerators, supermarkets, and Christmas trees.

One of the boys questions, “Why do we have Christmas trees? Are they in the Bible? Is Santa Claus in the Bible?”. They are very respectful of the culture of this country, even when they can’t hardly fathom it.

At this point, it made me rethink the meaning of Christmas. It is one thing to say, “It’s all about Jesus’ birth!”. Yet, how do we bury that thought by all the preparation of things that are not about Jesus’ birth? How would a Christmas celebration here be experienced if it were planned and led by the “lost boys”? Would our faith and joy be increased?

The movie ends by telling how some of the boys reunite with family members whom they thought were dead. Some travel back, some send money to the refugee camp in Kenya, and some continue to work 3 jobs in order to raise as much as possible to help those left behind.

I can’t help but think, “Did our nation do them a favor by helping them migrate here?” The culture shock they went through is obviously HUGE! But in addition to learning about the items listed above, the boys were spread-out into 23 states and separated into small groups of 3 or 4, instead of the larger groups they had grown-up in. The movie points out how they lost “community” by being split-up and working so hard to make ends meet. Because of their work, they were not even seeing those whom they lived with. Could our nation’s money had made a bigger impact by improving the refugee camp’s conditions vs. bringing hundreds of them to America? Will our nation do more to secure peace between the North and Southern parts of Sudan?

My mind is filled with questions. But I’m grateful for this — my mind is also expanded to think of others around the world at this Christmas season, who experience life very differently than we in this nation. May God bless them with peace and joy! May God bless us with a deeper understanding of the real meaning of Christmas.