I come from a place where on Christmas Eve people are battling extreme heat, Santa Claus wears thin silk pajamas, and Christmas day arrives with fireworks on the beach. Sounds like 4th of July in Florida, doesn’t it? Well, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s pretty much like that but with Thanksgiving meal thrown in for good measure. Today I’m in Nashville where we’re expecting a white Christmas and the days are short and cold.
But growing up in the Southern Hemisphere in tropical Brazil, I enjoyed Christmas mostly outdoors. Pool parties and trips to the beach marked the beginning of Summer on December 21. Brazilians eat a later dinner, 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve called “ceia”–interestingly, Christmas Eve is one of the only days Brazilians exchange their beloved beef for turkey and Ham. After the big meal, Brazilians still find stamina to go out from house to house to visit friends and family, while managing to eat, drink, sing and even dance until breakfast on Christmas day. On Christmas morning, toasted Panettone with butter and strong Brazilian coffee or “cafezinho” is always served.
Not matter where you are in Brazil, there are late parties going on most every home on Christmas Eve. I remember walking down the street as a teenager to the sound of samba and laughter into the wee hours of the new day. Aah, Christmas and summer are an awesome combination.
But no matter where in the world I am today, Christmas is a time to celebrate the Light of the World who was born to a virgin to redeem humanity, to redeem me, who desperately needed hope. My prayer for you is that no matter where you are, you’ll feel and experience love, grace and peace that only God’s son can provide. And as Brazilians say, “Feliz Natal”
What Christmas memories do you have?