A Boar’s Leg Christmas

Our weekend was spent cleaning up the mess created from tiling two rooms, and planning for Christmas. Christmas can be trying for me if I spend too much time thinking all by my lonesome. I miss family and even friends this year, since our teammates are on furlough. Cooking Christmas dinner can overwhelm as I desire to have a nice traditional meal, but have no outside help from family to cook or enjoy it together. This disappointment is lessening, but I also miss the spirit of Christmas–the crisp, cold air connected with so many Christmas songs, decor everywhere, cantatas and special programs.

We did have a Christmas service at church Tuesday morning, and although I’m getting more accustomed to life here, I still had to adjust my attitude about “working” on Christmas. (Church is definitely “work” for us!) South Africa is old-fashioned in that regard–they have Christmas morning and Good Friday church services–a lingering effect of having a state church (Dutch Reformed). Once I summoned my energy for the task, I enjoyed our service and felt that it was the best spirit we’ve had in a long time, with lots of people in attendance from the three Baptist churches in the region (Pastor Godfrey’s church from Mashamba village, our teammate’s church from Mbhokota village, and our church in Elim as host).

Caleb quoted Luke 2:9-14 in front of about 50 people! I think I was more nervous than he was. I wasn’t sure if he’d cry from fright, but he was excellent. I sang a song, accompanied by piano recorded on our church member’s Blackberry, which I find funny. Seth preached–a shorter sermon, under half an hour. That too was funny. 😉

I sang "Long Time Ago."

I sang “Long Time Ago.”

There was a sweet time of testimonies coupled with heartfelt singing. Then my Sunday School class acted out the Christmas story, with the help of a teen narrating. Seth was convinced that we must have a “real” Jesus, so Carson must be it, being the only baby in church. Carson was not convinced, being extremely hot and tired. I rescued him halfway through the angel’s announcement to the shepherds, replacing him with a black baby doll I had in reserve (since I was equally convinced that Carson would not be convinced by Seth’s conviction!)

Narrator on right, Mary and Joseph sitting, car seat is the manger, and shepherds surrounding.

Narrator on right, Mary and Joseph sitting, car seat is the manger, and shepherds surrounding.

I'm coming, Carson! You're not being like Jesus!!

I’m coming, Carson! You’re not being like Jesus!!

This funny church member put out money for a Santa suit. You never know what you’ll be surprised with!

Santa Claus. At church. Hmm.

Santa Claus. At church. Hmm.

We went home to an overcooked leg of warthog we’d been given from a friend who owns a game farm. I’d been instructed how to cook it, but it didn’t work out like planned and tasted like a dry pork roast. After a couple of days gnawing our way through it, with suffering teeth and swollen gums, I gave the leftovers to a lonely church member who had come to spend Wednesday afternoon at our house.

You can almost picture the warthog walking on that leg.

You can almost picture the warthog walking on that leg.

It was SO hot that we brought out the water balloons for a fight with the kids after our Christmas service. Even Mommy played!

First attempt to fill water balloons.

First attempt to fill water balloons.

Second attempt.

Second attempt.

Third attempt. Ah, success!

Third attempt. Ah, success!

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Callie wasn't too crazy about getting wet. She liked to water the grass instead.

Callie wasn’t too crazy about getting wet. She liked to water the grass instead.

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Then we opened a package from Seth’s mom, which had awesomely arrived on Christmas Eve! Notable gifts were pepperoni and circus peanuts for me, and ladybug jumper for Callie accompanied by a book for the kids How the Ladybug Got Her Spots, illustrated by their talented Aunt Bethany.

Our cute little ladybug!

Our cute little ladybug!

Circus peanuts and pepperoni

Circus peanuts and pepperoni

Backing up to Monday, which is when we had our family celebration, Callie, ironically enough, woke us up with a little board book with a button that says, “Ho ho ho! Meeerry Christmas!” Seth read How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Perfect Christmas Tree while I got myself and baby ready. We read the Christmas story, opened gifts, and had a dinner of rice and shrimp and chicken curry with cheesy broccoli casserole and cheesecake for dessert. Quite a splurge! Then Seth went with the boys down to a river to get more sand for their sandbox, with poles now rebuilt and shade cloth restored after termites destroyed the structure.

Ho ho ho! Meeerry Christmas!

Ho ho ho! Meeerry Christmas!

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My Christmas gift from Seth--a large frame with family photo. He couldn't get it matted on time, so that will be changed.

My Christmas gift from Seth–a large frame with family photo. He couldn’t get it matted on time, so that will be changed.

The boys made homemade cards for Daddy, which he loved.

The boys made homemade cards for Daddy, which he loved.

All Carson got for Christmas were his two front teeth--and this ball to gnaw on with them.

All Carson got for Christmas were his two front teeth–and this ball to gnaw on with them.

Seth's creative labels on the presents.

Seth’s creative labels on the presents.

Creative Christmas labels.

Creative Christmas labels.

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Wednesday was supposed to be a day off,  but we were invited to a birthday party, with all of the traditional Tsonga elements of celebration. Too long of a story for here–just imagine music loud enough to hurt, rain, mud, and Tsonga culture (see “Bride-Price”) with a bunch of white babies mixed in.

Thursday we had a beloved teen in our church over for his birthday dinner. And today Seth began a college and career group, which took him away for over three hours. Seth has a Greek test to study for this weekend, but he promises me that he’ll take New Year’s Day off. 🙂

We miss all of our dear friends and family in the States and hope that you had a blessed time thinking of the Christ-child. May your new year be blessed with growth in grace and knowledge of that same Christ.

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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6 Responses to A Boar’s Leg Christmas

  1. Love your sharing of your Christmas! You’re right, it seems so odd for it to be so hot when today I’m sitting here @ Aunt Connie’s house and we woke up to 10 degrees! Love you all, give our love to the boys and Callie! Merry Christmas (belated) again!!

    • Amy says:

      Aw, thanks Lynette! I missed talking to you on Christmas. Our phone line went down while I wastalking to Tammy, but it got fixed today. Hope you’re having a nice Christmas all together this year!

  2. Uncle Stan and Aunt Connie says:

    Loved reading all this Amy what a cute family and praying for you all.
    Uncle Stan and Aunt Connie

  3. Tammy Doiel says:

    Thanks for sharing! I loved hearing about Carson and baby Jesus. I’ll show it to mom and Grandma later tonight. Love you!

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