For 3 years, I spent Christmas at Orphanage Emmanuel. In Honduras, Christmas is celebrated on December 24th instead of the 25th. The small girls' house were I worked was blessed several years with donations of matching outfits for the children to wear, which was a present in itself for them, as they rarely get brand-new clothing. We began the day preparing a traditional Honduran breakfast for the house of homemade tortillas, refried beans, fried platanos, a special cheese, mantequilla, and coffee and then eat in our pajamas. We'd then get the girls dressed and ready before heading down to the church where "Papi David" (the director) would hand out gifts (sent by child sponsors) one by one to each of the ~500 children (a process that takes several hours!). After all of the gifts were handed out, David would count down 3-2-1, and the unwrapping would go crazy! Our late lunch/early dinner meal was almost always fried chicken, a favorite of the kids there.
Although I didn't spend Christmas day in Italy, I lived there until late December, and so was able to experience some of the holiday festivities. The small town, Cittadella, where I lived put up an ice rink and a giant Christmas tree in the middle of the town center where families could go to skate. My Italian host family has a mountain home in San Vito di Cadore, a town in the Dolomite mountains. We spent a long weekend there and visited nearby towns such as Cortina and San Candido. I loved drinked Vin Brule (also called mulled wine or gluhwine) in the Christmas markets there. I also got to taste Panettone, a delicious sweet bread loaf originally from Milan that is a traditional Italian holiday food. A sweet friend of mine there also took me to a "Christmas Village" in our quaint town.
I first arrived in Australia in late December, and had to laugh when I saw Santa wearing swim trunks and kangaroos pulling his sleigh. On Christmas day, it was warm and sunny, and my Aussie host family and I had a BBQ on the back porch. They also took me to "White Christmas," a special event at the amusement park, Movie World, in Gold Coast. There was fake snow falling from the sky and a Christmas parade, and the park rides were running which was fun with the kids! This was my first time ever opening presents on Christmas morning, as my family in the States does all of our celebrations on Christmas eve, and in Honduras we had also celebrated on the 24th. I had fun waking up early with the sweet Aussie kids I cared for to see what swim-trunk clad Santa had brought them.
Celebrations are fun and special, but the most important part of Christmas is the birth of King Jesus! I am so thankful for the most precious gift of all, the birth of a Savior who came humbly to earth to live the perfect life that we cannot, take the punishment of our sins on the cross, and credit us with his righteousness. No matter how or where we celebrate the holidays, may we remember the true reason for the season. Merry Christmas!
"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel" - Matthew 1:23
I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.