For most of my adult life, Christmas followed a pretty predictable pattern of various family events. But since I’ve moved to Ecuador, Christmas has taken on a different flavor each year.
My first Christmas in Ecuador was sweet for many reasons, but most especially because it was when I was just getting to know Robert. Last Christmas, by contrast, I was home alone. But even that turned out to be a blessing in disguise and afforded me some special reflective opportunities.
This year, my Christmas festivities were numerous. First, a few days prior, I attended the “village Christmas party” that was hosted for 400 of the poorest children in the area. I helped raise the funds among the ex-pat community to buy the gifts and refreshments, and all of us were invited to attend and help out. It was precious seeing and interacting with the kids and my good friend Ed, who lives in my development, played “Papa Noel” so well, that even I was convinced!
Then for Christmas Eve, I was invited by my dear friends, Bill & Elaine, out to their development to enjoy a bash put on by the restaurant out there. (Yes, their development is so big it has a restaurant and will likely have more, as well as other “commercial” venues, as time goes by). Because it was in the evening (beyond bus riding time) they invited me to stay over night. What a tremendous blessing it was to wake up there and enjoy a peace-filled Christmas morning with my three best friends in Ecuador. 😊
Then for Christmas Day, I received an unexpected but honored invitation to the home of Anna Marie and Steve, another Candian couple that have been part-time residents for the past few years. They have just recently retired and moved down here full-time. I’ve only met and chatted with them a few times on the beach. So it was quite a surprise but blessing to be included, along with several other friends of mine, and it was a very enjoyable afternoon.
As I mentioned in my recent Thanksgiving post, I do not take lightly what a gift it is to be given an invitation. So in addition to the few thoughtful and meaningful tangible gifts I received this year, all these invitations made me feel abundantly blessed this Christmas!