Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

Actually, I heard the fireworks and loud music on Christmas Eve around midnight.  That is how Christmas is celebrated here in Nicaragua.  Celebrating Christmas starts on Christmas Eve evening and goes into the early morning hours--which I guess technically is Christmas Day--just REALLY early. 

While we did wade a bit further into the cultural waters this year by setting off Christmas fireworks, we are a long way from celebrating at midnight.  On Christmas Eve, we did enjoy a lovely dinner with friends at their beautifully decorated home here in Managua. I even got super ambitious and cooked and baked some appetizers and desserts.  For all my foodie friends...are you sitting down?...I made fried risotto balls with mozzarella cheese in the centers, pecan encrusted cheeseball, apple pie with a brown sugar topping, and Scandinavian almond bars. (I also prepped the homemade cinnamon buns to be baked on Christmas morning).  Spending the entire day in the kitchen on Christmas Eve was a whole new experience for me. 

We have maintained many of our American-style traditions--especially our "Christmas morning breakfast" and stockings delivered to each child's bedside.  We did enjoy a yummy breakfast after opening up the stockings...warm, homemade cinnamon buns and fresh squeezed orange juice (and strong coffee for the adults).  After reading the Christmas story in The Message, we opened our gifts.  We had a simple gift-giving this year...but it was fun to watch the kids get excited to see their siblings open the gifts that they had shopped for and bought.   There were many different types of tape exchanged between the boys.  Duct tape was a popular gift this year!  Ella and I exchanged 'jewelry' gifts.  Ella also received the Spanish version of BananaGrams...she plays bilingually though...makes for a tough opponent! Fun was had by all!!!

Besides being weary from the rough night of sleep (or lack there of), we have enjoyed a peaceful, relaxing third Christmas here in Nicaragua. 

As I sat on the front porch this afternoon, I thought how Christmas gift exchanges are a great way to exemplify the selfLESS nature of Christ.  Here it is...His Birthday...and we all get gifts.  He truly did come to serve rather than to be served (Matthew 20:28)

Here are some photos of the last few days of celebration in Nicaragua this Christmas.

Thanks to the wrought iron bars on the windows...it makes hanging lights super easy!

The Fried Risotto and Cheese Ball

Our Family on Christmas Eve

The guitar was last year's gift...this year, a stand, tuner, strap and pick were added.

Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow