Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Nativity Scene

The Nativity Scene. It’s one of the most popular scenes throughout the Christmas season and can be found all over the world. I always had several Nativities when I was a little girl. It’s something you find at many homes in El Salvador as well. It’s different at each house and location. Some Nativities are huge while others are much smaller. But they are always filled with love.

This year I got to experience the creation of the Nativity at the Pastoral House. The Nativity took several hours to create and I was able to help with a couple things as well as capture the process with photos. The emphasis in many Nativities in El Salvador is on living plants. I watched as Blanca and Jesús dragged all sorts of plants into the chapel from the back yard. I went around the yard searching for rocks. We unpacked a couple boxes where things are stored for the Nativity and also placed a couple new pieces in the Nativity.

Before I knew it, the Nativity was finished. The only thing missing was baby Jesus. But he was deliberately left out of the Nativity. It is not until Christmas Day that they place the baby Jesus in the manger. It’s a truly beautiful tradition and a beautiful Nativity.

Making room in the chapel

Just the beginning

In storage

Here we go

What I found in storage

Putting up plants

And even more plants

Looking good

Adding a path to the manger

Is it done?

An angel given to the Team by a delegation

A piece purchased this year at Nina Luz's shop

I love the Nativity in the cantaro

Adding a little more

Can you tell what's been added?

Complete with poinsettias and presents

Merry Christmas to all the communities in Berlin
May God bless you always

More nativities I saw this Christmas season

At someone's home in Berlin

At a home in the cantons

In the park in Berlin

The stage in Berlin

In Alegria

A second nativity in Alegria

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmastime is here!

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see what the Christmas season is like in Berlín. Obviously, it’s a lot different than Iowa. There’s no snow and it’s not nearly as cold. You don’t hear the usual Christmas songs or bake Christmas cookies. But there are Christmas decorations and lights. Various businesses and people in Berlín can “buy” a small part of the town square to decorate and advertise. There are lights, bulbs, snowman, Christmas trees, and a nativity was set up in the middle of the town square.

Even Santa Claus made an appearance. Of course, I should clarify this statement. It was a skinny, Salvadoran Santa with a somewhat scraggly beard. Also, he was an FMLN Santa, a political Santa. He came riding into town on a cart pulled by some sort of motorcycle. The cart was covered with FMLN flags and posters of Don Lito, who is the FMLN candidate for mayor next year. I guess I never knew how political Santa was.

The same night we saw Santa we went into town to the square to watch them light up all the Christmas lights for the first time. We waited for what seemed like forever, listening to people from City Hall talk endlessly about something. Finally, they turned off the main lights in the town square and turned on the Christmas lights. They were beautiful! We walked around looking at all the different lights. Then they set off fireworks. We stayed and watched for quite some time. It wasn’t Iowa, but it certainly felt like Christmas.

Setting up the nativity

Merry Christmas

Pedro's bush

Snowman without the snow

Christmas bulbs

Styrofoam nativity- love it!

Christmas tree put up by the
physical therapy foundation

Another nativity

It feels like Christmas

Ding dong!

It's Santa Claus!

FMLN Santa

He's looking skinny

Me and Santa

Santa's clowns?

Ho ho ho

I guess Santa supports Don Lito

New sign in town

The nativity

Driving into the town square

One of my second grade students

Gathered around to see Santa

All lit up

Blanca sitting by a tree



My favorite

I love all the lights

Lots of people

So beautiful

Not quite a pine tree

Christmastime is here

Pedro's tree

Walking around

Feliz Navidad

One of my favorite trees

Up by the nativity

The huge pine tree