Monday, December 26, 2011

Joyeux Noël!

Christmas altar candle and flowers
 The Eucharist at the cathedral was lovely.  It was at 9AM Christmas morning, so we were up bright and early for Morning Prayer and a special breakfast before heading downtown.  It was my first time concelebrating here, too, which was lovely for me and astonishing (as I later heard) for the acolytes.  It's a new concept most anywhere, an ordained sister at the altar with the other priests.  I was glad one of them came up to me later on to ask me about it; the priest in charge also made a welcoming and explanatory announcement at the end of the service.  The bishop said he would put his sermon on the diocesan website, so I may post a link for those interested. 


We then proceeded to the Foyer Notre Dame to serve Christmas dinner.  The Foyer ladies and employees were there along with friends and neighbors, including a number of entertaining children.  I enjoyed rice and beans, fried plaintain, mixed vegetable salad, cake, and Coke.  That fine turkey was also there, cooked first on the stove and the pieces then roasted further in the oven, and the people who had brought us the Christmas cake mix had also given us a large canned ham, so it was quite a feast.  We served cremasse to the guests, a traditional festive drink that tastes rather like a cross between eggnog and hard sauce.  I've been promised the recipe, as it is usually homemade - it sounds rather like one of those recipes for which everyone has their own special twist.  This particular kind had raisins at the bottom of the bottle, for example. 

Christmas candle wreath with reflection

Back at home, we cleaned up the kitchen and lit the candles for vespers along with the little Christmas tree and the electric candle in my beautiful traditional paper house (more on that later, perhaps). 

After such a dinner, we didn't need much, so the perfect Christmas supper was cheese and crackers, hot chocolate, and grapes. 

Christmas supper
Somebody remind me to tell you how they make hot chocolate here
- even when you use a packet, it's really good!

There were not so many dishes this time, as you might imagine, so I had time to talk to my family.  They were all still at the dinner table, three generations in one place, so they put me on speaker phone, and we had a great conversation with much laughter.  That, too, made it seem like Christmas to me - not quite like being there, but as close as possible. 

Italian tenor singing Jingle Bells
with Kermit, Miss Piggy, and other Muppets
on television in Haiti
And then a final humorous moment.  I sat down after Compline to look at my Christmas pictures, astonished that we could possibly have had electricity all weekend (and here it is back again midday today!).  One of the sisters had turned on the television, where they were broadcasting Christmas programs.  And what should I behold after a while, but an Italian tenor singing Jingle Bells with the Muppets.  It was very funny in its unexpectedness.  

So I went to bed with a light heart, far too late but knowing that today would be a day off, time to rest and enjoy, to relax in prayer, to do a little hand wash, and now to play on the computer since the power has come back on again.  Life is good.

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