Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas is not a color

People in Canada often comment on how depressing it must be to have Christmas without snow, that's because they haven't experienced one without it yet.....once you do it's hard to go back. You have to experience it in order to understand, me explaining won't help. For instance, right now as I am writing this on Christmas eve at 6:48 pm the church bells are ringing, this village is so quiet it echoes throughout....yes Christmas eve and except for silent night playing next door the town is quiet, no one is rushing around to get ready for whatever I used to rush around for on Christmas eve. I am sure if you sail across the water to the big city the shoppers are still rushing about. 

 I just walked from the beach to my house and met 2 guys on the street, the last 2 people were just leaving the cantina and they were closing. There might be some kids playing on the basketball court. But yet.......Christmas is here and it is real, you can feel it. It started 9 days ago.

 The posadas start 9 days before Christmas, representing the 9 months that Mary was pregnant. I've been to 4 posadas this year and they were all similar. The posada consists of Mary, Joseph, 3 wise men, 3 angels, and the devil and in the end baby Jesus. They re enact Mary and Joseph on their journey, they act out how they go from place to place to find a resting place, this is done in the form of a parade, with Mary and Joseph leading, all the  village folk following them. The angels see the star and sing and declare a king is coming. The devil hears this and wants to stop the good  news from spreading. The three wise men are on their way with gifts for the king, the devil intercepts, there is a confrontation and I can never really understand what happens here. With little kids acting, singing and reading, combined with a bad sound system....or no sounds system and of course my 2 year old Spanish understanding, I don't really get what happens. The devil steals a gift but in the end when Jesus is born the devil gets defeated and he is laughed off the stage....he sulks away. Then there is another possession with Joseph and Mary with baby Jesus leading the village people around the stage, ball diamond, school yard....where ever this event is taking place.

The sweetest posada was the one that the community put on here on the Island at the baseball diamonds. Except for Mary and Joseph the actors for all the other parts were choose right there with a show of hands if you wanted to participate....almost all hands went up, kids were randomly chosen. A lady read the story and the kids just acted it out, remember, no rehearsing, this was done on the fly. The kids were amazing, these kids love to perform and they are good at it. The best part was where the devil and one of the kings had it out with each other, the little devil was probably about 8 and the king was maybe 10, they managed to have a big fight without touching each other and when the devil made off with the kings present he truly looked shocked at first that his gift was gone and then enraged when he realized that the devil had stolen it. It  so reminded me of the story "The best Christmas pageant ever" If you haven't read it, read it. Read it now. The king is so enraged he lost his composure and forgets he is in front of a life audience and cry out "oh my God!" We all try to stifle our laughter, that left you with all  kinds of funny snorting noises, that happens when you try to cover a laugh. It was hilarious.

Joseph and Mary were probably about 10 or 11 years old and when they lead their last procession they really looked like they were proud parents. The way he had one hand on her arm and the other on her back gently guided her so she wouldn't trip or fall, he was so attentive and looked so proud at his baby, (a doll) he straighten the blankets out at one point when a toe showed out of the bottom and smiled proudly at Mary and at the audience. You couldn't help but be stirred just a bit, and you couldn't help but know that this is the real's a feeling of peace and gratefulness, it's not snow.

Afterwards 3 piñatas were beaten to a pulp and the kids went home with a candy or 2 in their pockets.

The next Sunday in church we had another posada, same story. It being posada Sunday there were a lot of new people in church, some people only go to church on Christmas so our little church got packed full. When it was time to collect the offering  the pastor randomly choose a kid, turned out to be the same kid that was the star king at the posada at the baseball diamond, he is one of my neighbours, I have never seen him in church before. He was given the basket and told to collect the offering, I don't think he understood what it was for but he did well, after the first row of people put money in the basket he realized oh...I'm collecting money. It also just so happened that he was wearing a black hoodie...don't ask why, it was soooo hot.  He flips his hood up and taps the basket on the people's knees if they had their head people do when they decide to pass on giving offering, and then he'd say "give me all your money". Well.....there we go again snort snort....he was just a giggling and swaggering and having a great time, and cute as could be. had to be there. He should collect offering all the time, maybe we could afford flush toilets sooner.

I love how at every Christmas concert regardless of the venue the same Christmas story is present, whether at the Grand theatre in Mazatlan, at an elementary school, at the baseball diamond or at the church. Whether it is performed  with props, costumes and professional dancers/actor, set and stage designers or with paper crowns and tables clothes as capes, the story is the same and it is for everyone.
May the peace and love of God be with ALL of you during this Christmas season

I'll leave you with the Christmas eve sunset


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Mary. I'm having coffee, reading your new post, and that is a wonderful start to Christmas Day. Thank you for writing (it's a gift each time you post!). Wishing you the best of everything in the New Year.


Contessa said...

Great post, love the story.

Feliz Navidad!