Monday, December 28, 2015

Experiencing Christmas as a Child Once Again!

I remember my first Christmas without my grandma. I sobbed. Every christmas tradition was like ripping a bandaid off over and over again. The church service, the cheese fondu, staying up late and waking up early–nothing was the same without her. Prior to that year, it had been the same traditions year after year, I knew nothing else, and there was nothing I loved more. But suddenly the absense of one made it all seem different. And so for the first time in my life, at seventeen years of age, it suddenly felt like Christmas would never be the same again.

Looking back, I am so grateful for the many Christmases I had with my grandmother and grandfather-- and my entire family for that matter. The magic of Christmas as a child is forever etched in my memory: waking up before the crack of dawn, running down the stairs to embrace the beauty of Christmas lights, a tree and a decorated fireplace, and excited beyond belief to rip into the mountain of gifts under the tree. Sometimes I feel like the reason families in the West buy so many presents for their kids is simply to make the magic stretch a little longer and so they can enjoy their children's wide-eyed excitement for a few more minutes.

These past two Christmases (read about last year's Christmas here) that we have spent in Mozambique, I have enjoyed celebrations unlike any other. (Afterall, what could be more different than 40°C weather in December and extreme heat in exhange of the cold!) Celebrating Christmas with our girls is like getting to experience Christmas as a child again and again. And so, just like when I was a child, I woke up before the crack of dawn again this year excited beyond belief to celebrate with our girls. My sister claims it is a crime for anyone over the age of twelve to wake up before 9am on Christmas morning–I couldn't disagree more! Each girl received a beautiful new outfit, new shoes, and napsak (school bag or rucksack depending on which part of the world you're from) full of toys and activities. Nothing quite compares to the Christmas spirit that fills the air as our girls run joyfully to receive their present.

For months the girls have been asking us if we would be spending Christmas with them. “Of course!” I responded, we live here, where else would we rather be. But one by one, as they continued to ask me whether we would be here this year or not, I began to realise why. You see, our girls don't have a grandmother like I did to come and spend Christmas with them nor a mother or father to make family traditions–they have us. And though I will never get to celebrate Christmas with my grandmother again and we've missed two years with our families in Canada, I am so grateful for the role they played in my christmases as a child and for the role we now get to play in our girls lives.

To all of you who made this Christmas possible through your prayers and continuing generosity. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I hope this short video will help capture some of the magic you made possible from oceans away!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

With love,

Natasha & Evan (+71 beautiful girls!)

Ps. Our girls were overwhelmed with excitement with their gifts this Christmas, but one of them came up to me on Christmas day to remind me of her desire to learn, "I want to read," she said. If you would like to help fulfill this special Christmas wish in making an end of year donation (tax receit for 2015), please read My Grown-Up Christmas List for information on how to give to our literacy program and help a child learn to read in 2016. 

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