ne thing we try to do here is find things already present in the culture that we can use as a way to make relationships, deepen relationships, and share about Jesus. Believe it or not, Christmas here is pretty focused on Jesus. Even people who the rest of the year may have nothing to do with him will have a nativity set up in their house or business. Jesus is everywhere this time of year, so we decided to take advantage of that.
On Friday night, the 23rd, we invited our neighbors over for a chocolatada: hot chocolate and paneton (a typical christmas sweet bread) and to read Luke 1 and 2, the announcement and birth of Jesus. Because most Peruvians at least have the idea of the birth of Jesus on their minds during Christmas it wasn’t totally weird to ask them to come read it out loud with us.
Several neighbors brought a paneton and another neighbor taught us how to make their hot chocolate and we piled 25 people into our living room to enjoy the community we share. After we finished eating we had 7 different people read sections of the birth narrative from Luke pausing between each one to explain a little bit more about what is going on. Although most had heard the story before, seen a movie, or have a nativity set up in their house, not many of them had actually read the story for themselves out of the Bible.
It was such a special time for us to get to share in this reading with these neighbors and families that have come to trust us enough to allow us to enter into this part of their lives as well.
They are an answer to prayers for community and we tell them that every time we have them in our home.