The past two Sunday afternoons, the kids that come to Bible study helped to adorn the two rooms where we meet. Some of the kids decorated the tree, while others clamored up on chairs to string tinsel. Abraham let those who wanted to help him drill holes in the wall for the nails to hang decorations.
It isn't just the decorating that have brought Christmas to the rooms. We have also been teaching about the true meaning of Christmas. Abraham taught about the first Christmas from Joseph's perspective. What changes in expectations and emotions Joseph must have gone through! This past Sunday I compared two kings, Herod and Jesus, and concluded by asking the children which was the real king.
On the next two Sunday afternoons we will continue teaching of Jesus' birth and of the people involved.
There is an event that eclipses Christmas for many Mexicans. Dec. 12th is the day Catholics set aside to celebrate and worship the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patroness. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims bike, drive, or walk to the Basilica in Mexico City. Most carry images of the virgin with them. Starting at 12:30 a.m. and continuing throughout the whole day in the Basilica and across Mexico, the people attend services, set off countless fireworks, and hold festivities. Many stores remain closed throughout the day, since for the majority, Dec. 12th is a national holiday. Celebrations on Dec. 24th and 25th never come close to the 12th.
Two of the young people who have attended Bible study on Sunday afternoons almost since the mission started will be receiving their first communion on Dec. 13th. Flor and Daniel have heard many Bible stories with us, and Abraham and I visit their family every Thursday evening, often answering doctrinal questions that the parents bring up. Some time ago, Flor prayed to accept Jesus into her heart, yet she continues, along with her family, to worship Guadalupe and other saints. Please pray for the Alameda family and for Abraham and I as we share Christ with them. We anticipate conflict for Flor and Daniel and perhaps their family after they have received their first communion. From what we have seen in some other children who used to attend on Sunday afternoons, there is new pressure to stop attending Bible study after the communion.