As I sit in our little den and gaze out our front window, I see sunshine, palm trees, and lots of greenery. Downtown Cap-Haitian doesn’t reveal much about the fact that we’re into the Christmas season either, except for an occasional pedestrian donning a Santa cap. Probably the main reason there is not much celebration here is the simple fact that there’s little money for shopping, decorating and gift-giving. Many of the people here remain in a survival mode.
But, taking a look inside the church walls, one will see a different sort of celebration. It’s a holy time as the church families gather together to watch the Christmas story reenacted and groups sing special Christmas songs. It’s a time of laughter when the usual actor, who portrays Herod, enjoys his role a little too much or the battery-operated baby doll which serves as Baby Jesus gets stuck. The Christ child may cry incessantly until someone removes his battery. After almost 35 years in Haiti, I have yet to figure out why the Haitians always laugh hilariously when a young girl, “Mary” appears “great with child.” It’s a high point of the Christmas story. Her appearance always produces a thunderous applause and several minutes of nonstop, belly-aching laughter. There’s just something very special about these gatherings and celebrating the true reason for the season.
Don’t get me wrong. I ache when I think of not being present to watch our grandson, Sam, tear into the gift we send him each year and to witness his surprise and joy firsthand. I love a beautiful Christmas tree and its decorations, not to mention being able to shop in a store instead of online to find that perfect gift. I even love the shopping experience in the States and I miss visiting with friends and family.
So, while I’ll wish for the umpteenth time that our den was large enough to accommodate a Christmas tree, I rejoice once again that the Christ child was born into circumstances much like our own. King Jesus made His debut, not in the palaces of the rich and famous, but into a lowly, borrowed stable among the common people of his day – born into obscurity.
Merry Christmas Everyone!