Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas Tradition

Sometimes, it just doesn't feel quite like Christmas time to me here in Egypt. First of all, the weather isn't quite what I was used to at Christmas time growing up. We are still getting up into the upper 70s here during the day. Also, there is never really the chance of a "white" Christmas. Yesterday, instead of snow flying around in the air, there was sand.

Second, the commercialism of the States during Christmas time is not here. That is not a bad thing, and that is not something I miss, but, because it is not here, it just does not feel like that magical time of the year.

The third thing, is that we are so far away from family. It is especially hard to be so far away from family during the holidays, especially our two oldest kids. When in the States, we have our traditions with our families. We always go to my in-law's house on Christmas Eve for lunch and the evening tradition of opening gifts. Then, we go to my parents' house for a Christmas breakfast (usually biscuits and gravy) and opening gifts there.

One last thing that I have to mention that I miss from the States is the bright, shiny, Christmas decorations. One of my favorite things about Christmas time in the States is driving around at night and seeing how people have decorated their homes with lights and the beautiful nativity scenes. Here in Egypt, you might see three or four homes decorated with lights and probably only a half-dozen Christmas trees.

But, no matter how far away from home we are, there are always several traditions that are always practiced this time of year. One of the first is the Christmas cookies you see above. This is a double batch, which made over 100 cookies. The first picture is before the icing, and the second one is after I had iced some of them. This is a tradition that Tim's family has had since he was very small.

Another tradition we have is decorating the apartment and putting up the tree. When we first moved to Egypt 8 years ago, it was very difficult to find Christmas items and decorations. Now, you can find almost anything you want.

The final and most important tradition that we hold to every year is celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. After all, without Jesus, there really wouldn't be a Christmas. He gave up his life and home in Heaven to be born in a lowly manger. He chose to come into the world, knowing that He was giving up everything. He came into the world to die on the cross, for sinners. If you do not have this tradition in your family, give it a try. He is not to be celebrated only at Christmas time though. With Jesus in your life you can celebrate every day.

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