05 January 2014

The Not-White Side of Christmas 2013 in Monterrey

A little celebration of Christ was also part of the Monterrey Christmas 2013

Monday, December 16th—Family Home Evening for the Temple Workers. This was a dinner that someone else made with each person paying for themselves, so we didn’t have to cook all day. It was sweet to just show up and eat! This party also began with a spiritual message by the president and his counselors. Presidente Alvaradejo spoke about the stereotypical image of Mexicans sleeping under a cactus with a sombrero pulled down over their eyes. He then referenced the image used for Peru—a very poor Peruvian sitting on a bench made of gold. When he asked why this image, the Peruvians replied that their country is very, very rich in resources; but the people continue to be poor because they don’t access it. He then related this to the temple and asked, “Are we sitting on ‘a bench made of gold’ completely unaware of the riches at hand through the temple, of which we are not taking advantage?” 

New Temple Presidency and wives Cortez, Alvaradejo, Hernandez

Monday, December 23rd: Since we had a couple of days off from the temple, we got up early Monday and quickly cleaned the house from top to bottom. We then drove down to the Santa Lucia River Walk, and strolled from the top of the Fundidora park to the heart of downtown. It was a beautiful, peace-filled day as we enjoyed the Christmas decorations and the friendly people along the path. There is something about walking near water that soothes the soul. 

Christmas downtown and John singing with a creative beggar.

Beautiful, colorful trees and decor from all over Monterrey.
December 23, 2013--traffic downtown at a complete stop. It seemed like all four million residents were downtown!
December 24, Noche Buena (The Good, or Blessed, Night) was spend with our landlords (he is also our Stake President). Two of their children were in town plus her parents, us, and the other senior missionaries at the temple and their son who was visiting. We began the evening with a Family Night, reading the story of the Nativity from the scriptures while enjoying beautiful artwork depicting the different segments of the story. We sang some carols, which always brings the spirit of Christmas. Our new favorite is only found in the Children’s Songbook in Spanish (Estrella de Luz). It is a marvelous song about the Christmas Star!

Clockwise from bottom: Christmas Eve dinner, pins for Relief Society sisters, Santa run, Missionary celebration--complete with Santa. 

The entire city of Monterrey shuts down on Christmas Eve. Restaurants and grocery stores close—even 7-11 shuts down. It was almost eery to be on the streets all alone in such a big city. However, Christmas morning Walmart and its competitors were open bright and early, and the buzz of the city was back to normal. 

Christmas Day we enjoyed dinner at the home of President and Sister Bird with President and Sister Swapp. It was a relaxed, intimate evening. It was a yummy American dinner of ham, cheesy potatoes, spinach salad, carrots, and hot rolls. The best part of all was an evening filled with the hard, clipped sounds of the beloved English language. It was a very Merry Christmas! 

View of La Silla Mountain from the River Walk. 

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