The first time I found myself in a warm climate for Christmas I did not feel right; we were in Florida, there were palm trees, the sun was hot, I was sweating. I probably said something to Cassie about how I never wanted to leave the frosted tundra of the north-lands as we walked on the beach in our bathing suits and sandals. This will be only our fourth Christmas in the tropics as we have taken various opportunities to go to our native lands to visit friends and family during the holidays. And yet something feels so strange as we prepare for the yuletide. The calendar does not coincide with the changing of the seasons that Cassie and I become accustomed to during our childhood. There is never a white Christmas here and whenever we hear the song "I'll be Home for Christmas" we get a little teary-eyed.
That being said, Christmas here in Nicaragua has proved to be a memorable and joyful occasion filled with all kinds of seemingly abnormal forms of celebration. We have celebrated into the morning, on two different occasions with our Nica families, waiting for the sun to rise on the 25th in memory of the Christ child. The 24th into the 25th is a time for family and we are so blessed by the ways in which we have been invited into the lives of those who we consider to be very dear to us.
This year we are thinking about the ways in which we will celebrate Christmas with Estela. We have been working through a Christmas advent litany on Sundays focused on hope, peace, joy and love which you can find here - http://www.ccda.org/ We are also partaking in a Christmas activity each day; learning a holiday song together and doing something Christmassy like baking cookies, drinking hot chocolate together, making snow flakes or reading A Charlie Brown Christmas as we work our way to the 25th.
We are planning an activity for our neighborhood kids much like we have done years previously and are hoping to carol and bring cookies to our neighbors in the coming week. For those of you who may wonder, we have made star blossoms with kisses (instead of Brachs stars - so sad about that), Connie’s famous peanut butter balls which is a secret family recipe, rosemary shortbread cookies in the shape of trees, Grandmas no fail recipe of lemon bars with pomegranates on top, Suzy's red-hot wreaths and Matt's molasses mounds. If you live somewhere close we may be trudging through the dirt stones to your door in our sandals and shorts to bring you a plate of the goods.
Love you all, and Merry Christmas,
Kevin, Cassie and Estela