Last night was likely our last Christmas Eve—Noche Buena—in Mexico…at least for a while. We spent the evening with the Zendejas clan. The Zendejas sisters have been following Jesus for many years. They live across the street from us—we’ve been doing a lot of our life with them lately.
It was a fun night—and una experiencia muy Mexicana.
We arrived at the sisters’ house about 9:30 pm—the only non-family guests. The night was chilly—probably in the low 50’s. As people arrived, we were served snacks and ponche—a hot, fruity drink. By about 10:00 a group of 35 or so family members had arrived each bringing food and gifts. Amparo welcomed us all and after a couple of prayers, we ate supper about 10:30 pm—two or three types of tamales, a spicy meat dish called Birria, a corn based stew called Pozole, beans, rice, tortillas, and lots of desserts. They asked Nancy to bring Lasagna—also delicious but not so Mexicana. Lots of food!
After the meal, the kids had put together a skit re-enacting the story of Jesus’ birth and they performed it for all the adults. Then the family did the traditional Posada—which is a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Several songs were sung. At midnight, everyone began giving the Christmas abrazo (a hug and “feliz navidad”) to every other person in the house. So theoretically, everyone was hugged about 35 or 40 times from 12:00 to 12:05!
There were Christmas gifts for everyone and lots of candy for the kids. The sisters had made sure that our family had gifts under the tree—something we had not expected. Everyone had lots of fun.
We made it home about 1:00 am or so…feeling tired but very blessed to have experienced this special night.
Something tells me that we’ll be drawing on these good memories for years to come!