I took my parents’ dog for a walk this afternoon through the snow after conversations about when we’re doing Christmas with one side of the family versus the other, which Christmas Eve service we’d attend, what we’re eating for dessert on Christmas day, etc. And I recalled a simple but favorite tradition of mine in Mozambique: caroling by candlelight on the beach. It’s summer in Mozambique for Christmas and what better way to celebrate than on the beach, singing to the waves as the sun sets. There is something movie-like and nostalgic about having a wintry Christmas with lights and sparkle and scarves and mittens and real fir trees. But I didn’t grow up with wintry Christmases. I grew up with desert Christmases in Muslim countries where we pretended that the red and white National Day lights hung up for December 16 were for Christmas, and we made do with what was available to make our celebrations meaningful. White Christmases are nice, and they do always bring back pleasant memories of Christmases in New York as a young child, but carols on the beach in 90 degree weather resonates more deeply with me.
On the Ninth Day of Christmas… December 23, 2010