Thursday, December 25, 2008
Home for Christmas
If home is where the heart is, then I was home for Christmas. I was with my family - in the place God has called us. In that way, I was home for Christmas. But this year, Christmas was different than any other.
On the sad side, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are on the other side of the world instead of across town. But the girls did enjoy opening the gifts their grandparents had sent as well as reading the Christmas cards and letters we received from friends and family.
Although away from our family, we were not alone today. We spent the afternoon eating (and eating) with our landlords and their family. Then later we joined the YWAM staff and an outreach team from Baguio for dinner (yes, more eating).
This is the first year I have ever worn shorts and sandals for Christmas. (We even had lunch as a picnic outside in the new nepa hut.) However some of our friends here had coats and even stocking caps on in the chilly 70 degree F weather.
Last night after the girls were tucked into bed, Lisa and I decorated a potted bamboo plant with lights and a string of popcorn. We even had a star on top. Though not quite the same as the familiar scotch pine, it was fun to surprise the girls.
Our meals looked a little different, too. Here in the Philippines, no meal is ever complete without rice. I am not sure I have ever had rice outside of a casserole for a Christmas meal - now I have. We did manage to bring some of our family traditions with us in the food department, though. We made wassail and rice pudding. Who would have thought that we could make a rice dish nobody here had ever had? Both seemed to be enjoyed by our friends.
Nobody shouted, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" I never even saw anyone dressed like Santa. Instead, we heard firecrackers popping.
p.s. Although there was plenty of food and eating, I don't know of a parade. Just when we thought we were beginning to understand some holiday culture here in Bontoc!