Marilyn and I have been blessed and have travelled to a lot of different countries. It has been fascinating to see how things that we take for granted in our own country can appear so odd and are experienced so differently by our neighbours around the world.
Because of Christian House Sitters we have been able to enjoy Christmas in France (twice), Italy and the USA. In addition I grew up in South Africa and we now live in England.
In South Africa Christmas is a summer holiday. In December, the southern summer brings glorious days of sunshine that carry an irresistible invitation to the beaches, the rivers, and the shaded mountain slopes. Then the South African holiday season reaches its height. Schools are closed, and camping is the order of the day. I remember how carollers made their rounds on Christmas Eve. Church services were held on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve celebrations in larger towns often include “Carols by Candlelight”. Homes were decorated with Christmas fir trees (often artificial and covered in fake snow)
Many South Africans have a Christmas dinner in the open-air at mid-day, it is usually a traditional dinner of either turkey, vegetables, and plum pudding, crackers and paper hats.
Often followed by a dip in the swimming pool.
When we moved to England there was hardly any difference except that it was mid-winter not summer so no need for fake snow and certainly no afternoon swim.
The first Christmas we spent in central France we were frustrated. We really battled to find a turkey. Christmas pudding and Christmas cake were unknown to the local supermarket. We did some research and found that the French make a traditional Yule log-shaped cake called the buche de Nol, which means “Christmas Log.”
The cake, among other food in great abundance is served at the grand feast of the season, which is called le reveillon which is a very late supper held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The menu for the meal apparently varies according to regional culinary tradition. In Alsace, goose is the main course while the Parisians feast upon oysters.
Our Christmas in Italy was far from typical as we were staying high in the mountains and for 10 days could not leave the house because of a severe snow storm. So I read up on their Christmas traditions and discovered that On christmas Eve the dinner is called cenone which is a traditional dish of eel. Christmas lunch is Tortellini in Brodo which is filled pasta parcels in broth, also served is cappone which is boiled capon, or roasts are served in central Italy.
Apparently in Italy the children wait until Epiphany, January 6, for their presents. According to tradition, the presents are delivered by a kind ugly witch called Befana on a broomstick. It was said that she was told by the three kings that the baby Jesus was born, she was busy and delayed visiting the baby. She missed the Star lost her way and has been flying around ever since, leaving presents at every house with children in case he is there. She slides down chimneys, and fills stockings and shoes with good things for good children and it is said leaves coal for children who are not so good.
Our American Christmas was fabulous with the traditional Christmas dinner of roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. Not unlike what we have back in England.
How do you celebrate your Christmas?
I am really interested to hear from people all over the world.
As you know we run Christian House Sitters for 2 reasons. Firstly it provides Christians all over the world with the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures. Staying in lovely homes rent-free. That is why we have been able to experience so many different international Christmases. Christian House Sitters also finds you someone reliable and responsible to look after your own home and pets while you are away. This is a free service.
The second reason for Christian House Sitters is to provide funds to run the Home of Peace Children’s Home in Kenya. We not only provide all their funds for food, accommodation, clothing, medical expenses and education but we are in daily contact and Marilyn ensures that the home is run properly and the money is used correctly. To read about it CLICK HERE
Our involvement with this home brings home a couple of important biblical teachings. In Matthew 25: 41-45 we read “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
In James 1:27 it says: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress
As you enjoy your Christmas with the delicious food, exciting gifts and wonderful blessings will you take a moment to prayerfully ask if God would have you share something with these children. You can do so online at the bottom of the Home of Peace News update webpage page CLICK HERE
God bless you and may your Christmas be filled with His love, peace and joy.
P.S. WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. Seems they are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation.