One of my favorite songs around Christmas is a Band-Aid song "Do They Know it's Christmastime?" And for once I can feel I can answer one of the questions, "And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime [ps there really won't]...do they know it's Christmastime at all?" Well, so here's the thing. Maybe they do. The nuns are preparing their services and they're excited I'll be around, shops in Maputo have their decorations up and even my own house is decorated a bit. So yeah, Band-Aid, I think here in Africa they are aware it's Christmas.
But do I know it's Christmas? Not so much. I know that Christmas is about something bigger than decorations and special Starbucks drinks and presents. So I've been diving into Advent devotionals to try to remind myself of my belief. And I know I believe that, but at the end of the day, it's just not quite feeling like Christmas.
Christmas to me does have family, red Starbucks cups filled with white peppermint mochas, big special dinners, Christmas movies with my family, Christmas music always playing in the background, little gifts on Sundays leading up to Christmas, decorating the tree, hanging lights, playing with the nativity set...the smells, sounds, sights...those are the constant reminders that it IS Christmas. And that's what I am missing. No Advent devotional can fill that void for Christmas for me. They can remind me of the greater meaning of Christmas, they can help better my life and my faith, but it doesn't bring the whole Christmas feeling to my heart in Africa.
Meanwhile I know I am surrounded by blessings.
I am recovering from shingles--yeah that part wasn't so fun, but it was an excuse for me to go into Maputo to pick up medication and then spend the day in the city, including eating crabs at the fish market.
I know my site is beyond amazing with my own indoor bathroom and a kitchen and a wall around our compound. My house is the nuns' guesthouse so I more often than not can find at least one other person to talk to and have tea with until my roommate gets home.
I get to spend 2 Christmases in Africa, a continent I had always dreamed of visiting.
So overall, this isn't a blog post about not liking Africa or whatever. I'm in a land of blessings and a place where I can share my blessings. It is simply an answer to Band-Aid's age old question--No, I don't always know it's Christmas time, and I so very much wish I did.
But that's ok. I have 2 great years ahead of me here and then after that I have a lifetime of red Starbucks ups filled with gingerbread lattes, front windows with Christmas trees, midnights of making Christmas cookies, and giant Christmas dnners. So maybe it's a little hard to miss the Christmas spirit right now but man life always has blessings around.