Move Over Santa…Here Come the Three Kings!

21 Jan

In Mexico our holiday traditions continue into January. On January 6 families celebrate the coming of the Wise Men as they arrived to honor baby Jesus bestowing Him with gifts. Children here await the “Day of the Kings” with at least as much anticipation as youngsters in the U.S. anticipate the coming of Old Saint Nick. In Mexico, Santa often brings “only” clothing or school supplies while Balthasar, Gaspar and Melchor are the ones who bring games and toys.

An important part of the festivities on this day is the cutting of the “King’s Bread”, a sweet bread decorated with dried fruits and shaped in the form of a crown. Inside there are one or more “Baby Jesus” dolls. Each person cuts a slice and if the doll is in their portion, the tradition says they will provide the tamales for the “Day of Candelaria” on February 2nd when once again the group will gather to eat a traditional meal. February’s date remembers when Jesus was taken to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord. Only then do many families put away the Niño Jesús from their crèche, often dressing it in fancy clothes and taking it to the church to be blessed by the priest before storing it away until next December 24th.

This January 6 we received an invitation from some new neighbors to cut the King’s bread with them. Having only lived here for a month and a half we were honored to be included. David got one of the Jesus dolls, so we will buy the tamales and gather with the group once again on the February date. These neighbors have introduced us to their friends, mainly professors and small business owners, and we have found that we also have many friends in common with these new acquaintances.

Another highlight this month was co-hosting a group from Redding, CA who fixed the bathrooms at a rural school and built them a snack bar where they can sell food. They also did an “extreme makeover” at the home of a woman we are discipling, as well as spent time with our community of faith here. At one point during the week we had 65 people in our back yard for a carne asada barbeque. Many good relationships were formed across the borders, as well as connecting the principal of the local school and his family with our fellowship here.

This next month we have the trip to Washington, D.C. with our partners and disciples, Danny and Lucy as well as the 2nd Annual Ensenada Women’s Retreat Feb. 22-24. Please keep these activities in your prayers.

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