Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus! by Steve in Davao
First, I want to say thanks to Bruce for allowing me to use this site to tell my story. I have followed your site for several months now and enjoy the information you provide.
Well, it’s Christmas morning in Davao, Philippines. This is our first Christmas here and with all the differences, there are as many similarities, as well.
First, of course, we are celebrating the birth of our Christ. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
My five year old daughter, Patty, still believes in Santa Claus. She makes out her wish list and we send it to the North Pole for Santa’s approval. On Christmas Eve she puts out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for his reindeer.
She asked me on Christmas Eve. “Daddy, does Santa know we moved?”
“Yes Patty, Santa knows everything.”
“Daddy, will he find me in the Philippines?”
“Yes, Patty, He knows where you are, now time for bed, so Santa will come.”
We got up on Christmas morning and Patty headed down to see if Santa had eaten her cookies and milk. He had!
“Dad! Santa was here! …. He ate the cookies and drank the milk!” …. “Oh, look, presents!”
“Dad, we don’t have a chimney, how did Santa get in?”
“Santa has magic, Patty.” I replied.
With that, we opened gifts. Mom took lots of pictures, and we laughed and had a great morning.
Now was time to get prepared for Christmas dinner. Annie’s sister came to help cook. Soon her Mama and Papa and numerous cousins arrived to help and it was chaos in the kitchen.
They made baked ham, Lechon (roasted suckling pig), grilled fish, beef vegetable soup, spaghetti and garlic bread and, of course, rice, rice, rice. Side dishes included tropical macaroni salad, Lumpia (spring rolls) and Pancit Canton. We also had Mango float, birthday cake and ice cream for dessert. What a feast.
We expected around 10 to 15 people to come to our home and they did come, with friends! Everyone wanted to see an American Christmas. We said a prayer and thanked our God for the gift of His Son. We then handed out gifts to everyone (we always buy extra, so unexpected guest will have a gift, and this year it paid off). Dinner was announced and we headed to the table to eat.
The meal was ample and delicious. I’m still full today and everyone took home doggie bags. A good time was had by all.
We had a special honor this year. When we came here in November, we carried money donated by a Church in Ohio, to help build a Church over on Samal Island. We got a phone call on Christmas Eve, telling us, the Pastor and his congregation will dedicate their new building on Sunday, December 27th. Unfortunately, we cannot attend this week, but will make the trip next Sunday, for services. We are so blessed to be a part of this project. Thank you Jesus!
As we adjust to our new life here, we find that living here is not so different than life in Ohio. Sure, the tropical weather is different and we miss the snow (a little). Driving here is a real trial (we are from a small farm town), but, all-in-all we are getting accustom to being here and finding comforts we didn’t expect. I even caught a college football game on Christmas day. The friends we are making and Annie’s family are a great comfort.
Thanks again to Bruce, for letting me write here, and we wish all your readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Steve in Davao