Over the weekend, Mark and I were sharing pizza with friends, talking about our family Christmas traditions. One of our friends is from Columbia, and I asked him about how they celebrated Christmas in Columbia when he was a child. It’s so interesting to learn what’s important in other cultures.
In his village, Christmas Eve is the big celebration, marked by fireworks, special food, attending mass, putting up a small outdoor tree, and exchanging gifts. “The gifts, however, don’t go under the tree,” he said. I looked at him waiting for the explanation for this and was touched to hear this memory:
“In our village what was important was the Nativity. All the families would make their own Nativities. We went outside and gathered moss and other materials to build our own nativities. Then we took the time to put it all together. The tree was not the focal point of Christmas, the Nativity was, and the baby Jesus was the reason why we had gifts. We put our gifts around the Nativity, and we exchanged gifts because of Him.”
What a wonderful Sacred Everyday moment. How blessed he is to have years of building nativities with his family that engraved on his heart the real reason for Christmas.