Friday, December 26, 2008

CHRISTMAS PREPARATIONS

Christmas Eve 2008

Once again Christmas has snuck up on me. It is still 100 degrees outside and we are very hot and sticky. The electricity and water went out last night and are still out this morning. Patients have come throughout the day needing medical attention and Jeff sat down this afternoon to prepare for Sunday’s lesson - ministry continues. Where we live, we don’t see lights on houses, Christmas trees in windows, or hear Christmas carols. The stores don’t stock anything extra, people don’t dress festive and there aren’t any pre-Christmas parties. In a way, today feels like every other day….However, the kids have a Christmas tree in their room and our stockings have been hung with care on the mantel. My kids have been counting down till Christmas morning.

Paraguayans celebrate on the 24th when extended family gathers for supper. They cook all their traditional foods plus cletico (a fermented fruit drink). I asked neighbor girls if they exchanged presents on Christmas and they looked at me like I was nuts. Can you imagine Christmas without gifts? Paraguayans stay up and ring in Christmas Day with fire crackers. Christmas morning is one of the only days Paraguayans deem acceptable to sleep in.

This will be our fourth Christmas in Paraguay and I am still trying to get use to a simpler holiday season. I miss a real Christmas tree and my ornaments for childhood. I miss eggnog (I made it but it didn’t tastes quite the same) and sipping hot chocolate to the glow of Christmas lights. I miss family and friends and the fellowship that this time of years brings. Living here, however, I do not miss the pressure to spend money on gifts and house decorations. I enjoy being with my family instead of staying super busy with parties, baking, and travel. Christmas time in the states is at times overwhelming.

So what do we do in rural Paraguay to celebrate? Well, this morning, we killed a duck (for lunch tomorrow) and made Christmas cookies (both took all morning). This afternoon we delivered the decorated sugar cookies to a few families, visited a bit, and drank terere. Jeff is preparing to grill pork and potatoes for dinner. We will watch a new movie and stay up till midnight (the kids LOVE that tradition). At the end of Christmas Eve, we will join in the fun of setting off firecrackers. Tomorrow we will open our stockings (we don’t do under the tree gifts), have a crepe breakfast (it was a unanimous vote from the kids) and then spend the day with our team mates (they killed a turkey for lunch). We will sip terere, watch the kids swim, and eat watermelon. Tony will get out his guitar and Jeff his piano. We will sing to Jesus (in English!) and praise him for the incredible sacrifice he made by donning human flesh and allowing himself to be place in a manger.

I better go…it is 7:00 and Jeff has found the fire crackers. He has already blown up a tomato and an egg and is asking if we have any watermelon…..

Kids watching lunch being killed


Plucking Christmas lunch


decorating cookies


Eating the final product


Water balloon bomb





co 2008 Amy McKissick

2 comments:

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

We, too, enjoyed not getting all caught up in the pressure of decorating and gift-buying overkill. It's been different, for sure, but much less stress!

Max said...

Well, even though we are in the States, Christmas is still different for us. We are used to snow... it was in the 70's in Abilene!
Marianna offered to stay the night of the 24th & part of the 25th, so my gift was to get to sleep on a BED instead of on a hospital chair.
We woke up and Jedidiah brought the stockings to our bed and then the few wrapped presents from others. It was nice just to have a little relaxing time together with us 3 as I have spent most of the past week with Mom at the hospital.
She is doing well but takes a lot of time and energy. Still hard to manage her pain.
We miss ya'll. Let me know when a good time to try and talk(Skype) would be.
Hugs to all.
Celebrate JESUS!