On Sunday 20th, my Christmas started when I went to Belen Viviente ('Living Bethlehem) at one of the projects we work with. Their live enactment of the Nativity (complete with donkeys, cows, goats, chickens and a recently born child!), has become a bit of a tradition for me. For Educando Para la Vida, a community education project in Zaragoza, it is the culmination of a week long holiday bible club for kids, as well as medical campaign, and sports activities for young people, involving around 60 volunteers (local and international) and 170 kids. The last couple of years, the Belen Viviente has been reenacted in a farm yard - literally - with the cows lowing in the corner, and the goats and sheep providing entertainment as we waited for the actors to arrive.
In Guatemala nativity scenes and processions are a key part of the roman Catholic churches festive activities, so evangelical /protestant churches very rarely celebrate Christmas in this way. So for me it´s lovely to be a part of it, and see a clear gospel message portrayed through the drama of the Christmas story. I´ll also admit that just the sights and sounds (and smells) of being in a farmyard makes me feel at home!. It´s a special time.
(Forgot to take my camera - so this isn´t the nativity - it´s the tree that I made for my house!)
A facebook friend took part in a Dressember Challenge - to wear a dress for every day of December. That really would be a challenge for me... but I had a go. Starting on the 20th, I managed 10 days wearing skirts. I don´t do those mirror selfies.... but you get the idea.
I spent quite a lot of the christmas week cooking and watching Christmas movies .. so in a Bridget Jones Diary style list, here´s what I got up to...
23rd Dec - 6 dozen mince pies made for my neighbours (mince meat from scratch.)
25th Dec - Pigs in Blankets, Stuffing and Bread Sauce for 15.
26th Dec - Full Christmas dinner for 5
27th Dec - Turkey Curry and Turkey Lasagne for 16
I´ve been eating left overs ever since. The bread sauce is still going strong!
Over New Year, I was antisocial but creative. This last year, I´ve read Habakkuk several times, and it´s been great to have time to create the art that´s been in my mind for nearly the whole year. It never works out quite how I imagine it, but I enjoy the process.
Habakkuk 2: 1
Habakkuk 3: 17-19Although God promises some specific action and response to his plea, Habakkuk´s final prayer is one of faith, of remembering God´s powerful work of the past, but also a commitment to worship him even when the answer has not yet appeared. That feels like my commitment for this next year.