Mzungu Memoirs

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five and ten glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

— Johnny Mathis

I’m not sure what I expected celebrating Christmas in Africa, but I was sure it would be different.  It has been different in many ways, but I wasn’t prepared for how similar it would be in terms of the busyness of the season.  It seems the holiday rush is universal.  At least they keep the timeline in perspective here and have only been rushing around for the past month instead of the past three.

I guess the holiday season really started in earnest the last weekend in November.  They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, so there isn’t anything like Black Friday to officially kick off the holiday season.  But that seems to be the weekend that everything started gearing up for the holidays.  The mall entrances were adorned with brightly wrapped gifts and ornaments hanging from ceilings while Christmas trees decorated many of the stores, where Christmas music even began to play.  At least I think it was Christmas music; I recognized the words but not the tune.  In addition, traffic and shopping starting getting crazy and has only gotten worse.  I shudder to think what this last week is going to look like.

We would normally put up our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but since we did not celebrate Thanksgiving until the following Sunday, we decided to postpone our tradition a weekend.  The delay gave me a little more time to round up ornaments for the tree.  I did bring some other holiday decorations (bought on clearance after last Christmas), but I hadn’t packed any ornaments.  I think the ones I found (bought at one of the local craft markets) are more fitting for our African Christmas tree anyway.

The tree itself is not nearly as big as one we would have in the States, but it is on loan from some friends and I think it has turned out to be quite an addition to our home.  I must admit it was funny to see Robert bring it home on the back of the boda, not quite the picturesque image of a fresh cut tree on top of the car (or in our case in the back of Robert’s truck).  But with a little bending and fluffing, it took on a decent shape.  Robert’s job has always been to put the lights on the tree, which was probably not quite the daunting task as it is with multiple strands on a large tree, but he made it look better than I ever could.  He even added lights to the star I had put on the top of the tree.  Caleb had made the star in VBS last summer and I think it was meant as an ornament, but I felt a large star would better serve as the topper on a small tree.

Once the tree was up and decorated, Caleb and I set about to dressing the house up with the few other decorations I had.  I hung a Christmas wind sock on our veranda.  I love the location as I can watch it flutter in the breeze while working in the kitchen.  And Caleb set about sticking window cling snowflakes to the windows, our sole reminder of what the weather should be this time of year.  I must admit, it is going to feel a little odd celebrating Christmas with 80° weather.  It was a little difficult keeping in the Christmas mood as I was sweating writing our Christmas cards this year.

With decorations in place, it was time to get down to the seriousness of the season: all the shows and fun things to see.  I started out by attending a Kampala Singers Christmas choral presentation with a friend.  It felt a little odd since it was the night before our Thanksgiving dinner, but it was very nice none the less.  The next weekend the entire family went to see a pantomime by the Kampala Amateur Dramatics Society.  It was similar to a melodrama with audience participation.  Apparently, it is a British holiday tradition, and the storyline is typically a fairy tale turned on its head, in this case Snow White.  The next night, we went to a production of A Christmas Carol by the drama department at Caleb’s school.  The kids did a great job, although I think the material was a little heavy for them.  The following week, Caleb’s class was participating in the school’s Friday chapel, so Robert and I attended.

I feel like it has been one thing after another just like it would be with all the activities if we were back in the States.  I have enjoyed the familiarity of the seasonal busyness.  But I am also glad to enjoy a week to slow down and really focus on the reason for the season before the actual day gets here.  There is something to be said about family time, and I am hoping we can spend a little time loving on our friends and eMi family here.

As we wind up the busyness of the season, I pray that you will keep the true reason of the season, the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in your hearts.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14

posted by Robert in Uncategorized and have Comments Off on It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

Comments are closed.