Our fourth Christmas festivity: the neighborhood Christmas party.
It was chaotic, to say the least.
Remember the small group that sent us a whole load of presents? It started there. This past week we sorted through all of them, divided them into age groups, and wrapped them up into about sixty gifts.
After quite a bit of thought, we decided we didn’t want to always be the ones to be giving things to the neighbor children. We thought we might take this opportunity to bless the parents instead. We invited all of the parents into our home and had about twenty-five show up. There was just one father in the bunch, a couple grandmothers, many mothers, and one older sister.
And so we started. Our co-worker, Yim, was so very kind and agreed to help us translate on a Saturday night, in the midst of absolute chaos. We started with introducing ourselves, telling them that we were Christians and why we celebrated Christmas. We explained the Jesus was gift to us, so we gave gifts to others. We gave them the presents and encouraged them to give them to their children whenever they wanted. We also had the story of both Christmas & Easter written out in Burmese for them to take home.
It seems so calm, doesn’t it? It wasn’t. There was so much chatter, some Karen and some Burmese, trying to determine how old everyone’s children were and if they were boys or girls, while Stephen and I were getting a little worried about having enough.
How many children do you have? I’m sorry, did you say six?
In the end, it worked out pretty much amazingly. Not smoothly, but amazingly.
We had a few families come up afterward and tried to deliver as many as we could. We certainly covered the many children that regularly deposit themselves on our porch to play.
And the kids loved them, which always makes the insanity worth it.
The night didn’t end there. Tonight was a lunar eclipse, so everyone very shortly began watching the moon. The kids were making some interesting motions, something of pointing to the moon and then making a blowing-up motion. Stephen grabbed a piece of paper and drew a photo explaining a lunar eclipse (something I personally appreciated). The kids then took the pen and drew a person playing the drums.
Stephen went in to get his djembe, in an attempt to sort out what they meant. Little did we know that this would start an entire event that drew out parents, children, and neighbors. The djembe and it’s musicians moved into the street, and we were joined by some other creative instrumentals.
And then we banged on things for at least half an hour while we watched the moon.
We played some more and sang the local Christmas favorite–Merry Christmas to the tune of Happy Birthday.
And then we laughed even more.