Thursday, December 24, 2015

Noche Buena/ Christmas Eve

"You my child, shall be called prophet of the Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1:67-79

Noche Buena (literally translated means good night), Christmas Eve, is full of so much hope and promise! God is sending us his only son to earth to be His presence on earth in order to bring us to Him! In the tiny babe we will "meet" tomorrow morning we will see the promise of eternity with Christ in heaven.

I remember as a child how Christmas Eve was just as special as Christmas day for us. We spent all morning getting ourselves and the food ready to take to Peachtree City to the home of my aunt and uncle, Tio John and Tia Silvia. All of my dad's side of the family would gather there around 2 or 3pm to spend the day playing, eating, sharing love. We used to even go Christmas caroling through the neighborhood and my older cousins would organize the younger ones to put on plays and a concert for the adults. It was always such a magical day and night. We would all go to the children's mass at their parish and upon our return we would feast on a traditional Cuban Christmas Eve meal of pork, black beans, rice, yucca, plantains, etc. Mom was always sure to make a cake so that the kids could sing happy birthday to Jesus and there was always a pinata to end the celebration! I remember watching my aunts and mom in the kitchen preparing everything and later cleaning everything. The men were typically talking and playing dominos or arguing over the politics of the day. We kids just played until we dropped. Around 10pm my dad would gather us up in the car for the hour long ride back home to Stone Mountain. I have fond memories of my dad carrying us, one by one, into the house as the four of us kids would arrive sound asleep. Mom carried in the baby.

No doubt, mom and dad probably spent another hour placing the gifts around the tree and setting things up for the morning. We would wake up around 6am and mom and dad would lovingly join us around the Christmas tree for the opening of the gifts. The tags on our gifts always said they were from Baby Jesus. Presents were followed by a yummy breakfast which always included cinnamon buns and then a day of putting things together and playing. Our Christmases were not fancy or over the top, but they were magical and full of so much love.

So, Pete and I set out to create something similar for our boys. (And Paul just woke up and came to me and said, "I'm so excited about Christmas Eve and Christmas because we get to see all of our family! My heart just exploded and I burst into tears. Wow- we have set it up right for our boys. They know that Christmas isn't just about the material gifts.)

This is a Christmas they will never forget for many reasons. One is they have received more gifts than ever from a very generous group of anonymous donors (that I think are from my office). This group actually coordinated everything with my mom and delivered everything to her house. On Tuesday as we were out watching Star Wars, mom and dad delivered everything to our house in a beautiful display under our Christmas tree. I am praying that those angels read this blog and know that we are so very grateful for the kind act of love they have showered us with this Christmas. The boys are so excited as are we! We have let them open two gifts each day since the 22nd. The majority will be opened tomorrow morning. Such excitement!

Today we focus on the expectation,the waiting for our Savior to be born. We thank God for each one of you who are praying for us and supporting us through our latest earthly trial. We pray that you will each experience much happiness and peace today and throughout the days of Christmas!

Much love from us to you! Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!
The Zakis Family

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