Showing posts from December, 2010

Sparking in the New Year

"Stand further back!"

"We're fine, Mom."

"Don't light all of those at one time!"

"Alma did it!"

Fireworks from the stadium. Fireworks in the streets. Fireworks in the yard.
New Year's Eve in San Salvador . . .

maybe not every mother's dream . . .

but lots of fun for kids who like sparklers, whistlers, fountains and big BOOMS.

These photos were taken during our second New Year's Eve in El Salvador... some are mine and others were taken by a friend named Rich. Enjoy.

A Happy New Year

Clink, clinkety, clink. BANG! POP-pop-pop-BANG!!!

The firecrackers hit the corrugated tin roof and before they could roll to the ground exploded with an awesome noise, plenty loud both inside the house and out.

Sleeping was not part of our itinerary for our first New Year's Eve in El Salvador.

Dancing was! Our own kids were down for the count with systems catching up with a week of local food, but my husband and I joined the rest of the families in the Casa Comunal for a lively New Year's Eve dance. One of my favorite images is of tall and lanky "J" who was in his awkward teen years dancing with a gorgeous young woman from the community who was decked out in a little off-the-shoulder yellow top, tight black pants and spike heels. Oh my -- J was having the night of his life. We danced like crazy, laughing and bringing the new year in with loud music and big sweaty smiles.

After the dance, we headed back to our host family homes to catch a little sleep before an early…

El Sombrero Azul

In my mind I see a big blue sky.

Yesterday a funeral was held at our church. A daughter of the congregation was killed in a tragic accident as she was traveling home for Christmas. Her mom, her dad, her sister, her brothers, her boyfriend, her friends, her Sunday School teachers...all are crying, all are grieving. And even though our sisters and brothers in El Salvador do not know this daughter of God personally, they are grieving too, because as family in Christ we are connected in prayer and joy and sadness.

As messages of Feliz Navidad and Merry Christmas passed between us, so did requests for prayer and words of comfort.
... myeyes turnedtowardthehugeblue skyandthe thoughtsthatcameto mindwere these: God isthecreatoroflife, the creator ofall that exists.Inlife at alltimes in someplacesit is nightand in other places it is day, in someplacesnewcreaturesare bornandinotherplaces other creaturesdie, in someplacessomepeoplelaughandinother placesotherpeoplecry. AndGodisalwaysther…

Merry Christmas, Material Girls

The girls arrive with their hair in sweet-smelling curls and a little make-up on their lips and cheeks. Their moms are also lovely, with a little bit of anxiousness in their eyes and nervousness in their movements. The space is decorated with balloons and streamers and proud families take their seats in borrowed folding metal chairs. The ceremony begins with the national anthem, blaring out from enormous speakers.

The pastor gives a prayer and the master of ceremonies introduces various dignitaries...a local mayor, pastors, the sewing school teachers, and sometimes, guests from the United States.

Christmas vacation in our sister church community in El Salvador includes a highlight - celebrating graduation day at the sewing school.

The idea of a sewing school and cooperative was one that was birthed early on in our relationship. Over the years we have hauled and shipped machines, equipment, and fabric. We have supported the students with prayer and gifts of graph paper, pencils, tiss…

Rum Pum Pum Pum

We arrived with our families on Christmas Day. We gathered inside the little church, and it was already getting dark. The benches were set up around the perimeter of the walls so that all could see the children who were gathered in the center. Pastor Santiago took on the role of director, gently placing his hands onto kids' shoulders and guiding them into place. Then he bent over, face to faces, so he could give the children some final instructions before the pageant began.

The girls were dressed in their best white dresses, which first appeared at their baptisms or first communions. They carried shepherd staffs, which glittered with Christmas garland. They sang a few songs, and then invited one of our kids, a drummer, to join them for a special song. They handed him some sticks and a little home-made drum and invited him to sit with the others and give the beat.

"Come, they told me, pa rum pa pum pum. A newborn king to see, pa rum pa pum pum..."

This was adorable.


Holly Jolly Christmas

We were driving through a holiday lights display, laughing at the animated images of Santa in his workshop and the bears in the bakery. With the fresh blanket of snow all around us, the lights were especially pretty.

"When you were a little girl, did you celebrate Christmas with the story of Santa Claus?" I asked my friend from El Salvador. It was her second visit to the US - her first time in the snow.

"Yes," she said. "The parents told the children about Santa Claus, but really, the parents made little gifts for their children. We had Christmas trees. The big stores had trees and decorations and you could visit Santa. Now, with electricity in the communities, people put lights on their Christmas trees. Some houses in the community have lights, but not as much as this," she said, pointing out the car window.

The Christmas traditions in El Salvador are an eclectic mix of pilgrimages to find Jesus and pilgrimages to Metro Centro, of straw reindeer and …

Looking for Jesus

All around the world, Christians are setting out decorations and preparing to celebrate the coming of Christ as a baby. Each culture, each community, each family has its own special traditions.

On my fifth birthday a little friend gave me a cardboard nativity set. Every year, on the first weekend in December, I carefully take it from its box and set it up. In this house, it has always gone on the kitchen counter. I unfold the base, insert the stable pieces, put the roof on, insert the background. Each vertical piece has little slots that slip into little semi-circles that fold up from the base. The pieces have to go in order...the animals, the shepherds, the wise men, the adoring child. After everything else is in place, I take up the last piece...Mary is dressed in a soft blue and Joseph in red stands behind her, and in her lap is a chubby baby Jesus. I look at this piece for some moments, and think about what it was like to be Mary. Maybe this is something every girl, every …