On Sunday our church had it's special Christmas program. I was blown away by all the work that it entailed, and the amount of people that showed up! In a church that normally draws about 30 on a good day, we had a little over 100. All of our chairs were taken up and many people were left standing. Kevin and I were roped into participating in one of the plays that the youth put on, fortunately we didn't have lines! The play was basically about the spirit of hate who wanted to assassinate love. Hate sends all of his best spirits, egoism, jealousy, wealth, sickness, poverty and others, but still love is not defeated. In the end an unknown spirit comes in and offers to kill love and this time the spirit actually succeeds. As the spirit is leaving Hate demands to know who it is, and the spirit reveals itself as "custom." I was a little confused by the big reveal at first, but the point of it all is that our love is not sufficient to withstand all that life has to throw our way, and that we need to look to God as the source of our love and life. On the night of the play we were heavily made up. I had to wear all red since I was the heart. I hardly own anything red, and certainly no red pants, so someone's stretchy red pants were donated to me. Unfortunately they were a little tight and a little short! I was also the recipient of red and orange high tops. Fortunately I was wearing a poster board heart, so the tightness of the pants was not obvious. I had four hearts painted on my face, one on each cheek, my nose and my forehead. I was also doled out a generous amount of glitter and my eyebrows were plastered with red make up. Kevin was not spared in the make up department either. He was one of the evil spirits, and I must admit, he definitely looked evil! (Scarily so!) In the end the play went well.
The kids also put on a whole musical. It was amazing. Eva the pastor's wife worked with them for weeks. They made all of their costumes, the pastor made a stage by stacking bricks alongside one another two layers thick, and they also rigged up a whole curtain that fell from the ceiling. One of the young women in the church had painted sheets to make a back drop. It was unbelievable. Even though we come from a tiny church with very small resources everyone worked together to produce an amazing product. After the service we shared a meal together and the children broke a piñata. I actually discovered that it is from a Christmas tradition that pinatas were created. The tradition is called a posada. Posada means "inn." In a posada children go from house to house looking for shelter, in the same way that Mary and Joseph did when they went to Bethlehem. As were Mary and Joseph they children are turned away time after time. As they go along the tradition is that they sing different songs. Finally they reach a house that offers them hospitality and a large fiesta is held. At the fiesta the children break a piñata, which is meant to represent the power of sin and how it is broken. As the piñata is broken God's blessing is released, represented by the sweets (though at Christmas often fruit) which fall from the broken piñata. It is a really neat tradition.
Tomorrow Kevin and I will be leaving for Guadalajara with our family. One of the cousins of the family with which we live is having a wedding, so everyone is going out there for the wedding. It is about six hours away. We will be back in Mexico City to celebrate Christmas, and then on the 26th we are going to Monterrey, because one of the brothers of our family and his wife are having a baby on the 20th. We look forward to getting to know more of Mexico and spending time with our family. Please be praying for us as we travel.