This was our 5th Christmas to celebrate in Peru and over the years we have had to adjust to the different ways it is celebrated here. For one thing, it never FEELS like Christmas because summer vacation begins in December which also means December is usually one of the warmer months of the year. So, no white Christmases here. Christmas is celebrated here the 24th. A late dinner (beginning anywhere between 10PM-midnight) is served and fireworks across the city are shot off at midnight. Also, the Santa decorations that you see decorating houses either have Santa climbing a ladder or with a parachute. I guess since there aren't chimneys or snow there is no need for a sleigh.
There is a huge focus on Jesus through the Christmas season. There are nativity scenes all around town that sit with the manger empty until midnight on the night of the 24th when everyone puts their baby Jesus in his place. Many families also take a moment at this point to worship baby Jesus.
During this Christmas season we invited neighbors and the church to celebrate Advent with us each of the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. Advent is a time of awaiting the arrival of Jesus' birth but also looking forward to the arrival of the second coming of Jesus.
This season of Advent was special for me because we were also awaiting the birth of our son and so I was continually thinking about Mary and how she must have felt in the days leading up to the birth of Jesus. At one of our gatherings we read the nativity story from the Jesus Storybook Bible and one line in particular stuck out to me. It says, "You see, God was like a new daddy-he couldn't keep the good news to himself. He'd been waiting all these long years for this moment, and now he wanted to tell everyone." Boy could we relate to this line. When Kinney was born we couldn't wait to tell our family and friends. It was the news everyone was waiting to hear and it made us so happy to finally get to introduce our son to them. Adileen especially had been waiting for this day. When Kinney was finally born she started telling our neighbors, "My baby brother came out!" She was so excited to finally meet him and it was such big news she couldn't help but share it.
It is neat to think about God being the proud dad and finally getting to announce the coming of his son, Jesus. It was such great news he couldn't help but share it. He wanted to tell everyone about the birth of his son because, you see, God was proud of him and knew that his birth would change the world.