It's almost Christmas here. Some things look very familiar - trees (mostly artificial) with lots of lights, images of Santa Claus, stores full of last-minute shoppers, brightly wrapped gifts. Some things are very different, though. All week the parish has been celebrating Las Posadas, with pre-teen Mary and Joseph and Angel and Shepherds going from neighborhood to neighborhood each evening, accompanied by all of us carrying our candles and blowing on the clay hen-shaped whistles that are, somehow, a sacred part of this story. Firecrackers, metalicos, are set off a few times every day, unpredictably.
Today at the Centro Arte para la Paz I got my first taste of the special Christmas food of El Salvador, panes con pollo. It turns out to be a chunk of chicken, many vegetables and sauce all enveloped by a long roll of bread - a little like a subway sandwich, only fuller and messier. And delicious. Like pupusas, panes con pollo is to be eaten with the fingers. I didn't get the technique right on my first try, but hope to improve tomorrow when I go with Peggy and Pat Farrell (Sister Patti) to El Sitio Cenizero. I am supplying beer and pop. Mercedes, who knows how to do it, will be making the panes con pollo.
And so we will welcome Jesus, becoming flesh for us, coming to birth among us.