Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas in Mexico

Christmas eve here in Mexico, which means Christmas Day in Australia. As we sit in our winter clothes on a cold, crisp day, it is a slightly strange experience reading the reports of carols in the carpark wearing shorts and eating ice creams, midnight carols services and various stages of feast preparation.

All the Christmas action happens on the night of Christmas eve here. Our church has a Christmas service at 6pm, although traditionally there aren't many people at it because the big family get together is getting underway. A huge family feast followed by present giving at midnight is the traditional way. For the adventurous, there are often amateur fireworks, and then Santa presents on Christmas morning. And thats it. The 25th is about recuperating.

Most churches do not have anything on Christmas Day - ours tried it a couple of years ago but so few people came it wasn't worth the effort.

What will Christmas look like for us?

Christmas Eve - I'm working. I've got a stack of exams to be marking and various bits and pieces to do for the new year. During the afternoon we'll skype with the Christmas early birds in Australia. We'll go to church at 6pm where a few of us will probably play music. Then we'll come home and have a quiet dinner. We'll have our traditional family breakfast of pancakes, strawberries and ice cream (strawberries are great here!) do presents on Christmas morning while the turkey is cooking, and enjoy a big Christmas lunch - even with Christmas pudding!

Christmas is one of the times of the year when I think we feel most strongly that we are foreigners living in a foreign land. It is very different here. Yes - there are different Christmas traditions, foods etc - no big deal. But most clearly, we are relationally foreigners. The majority of Mexicans are at big family celebrations tonight - as are many Australian friends - but for us, it'll be just us.

Have a great day celebrating Christmas. Enjoy the family, the food, the presents, all the good ways in which God blesses us. But most of all, remember the saviour.

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