Wishing you all the blessings of peace, contentment, safety and good health at this joyous time of year when we think of renewal, looking beyond the Winter Solstice as the earth turns, the days grow longer and all is well in the land.
We are dormant now. Slower. More thoughtful, perhaps. In ancient cultures our attention might turn to the spring planting. May our seeds of new life bring forth all the richness of life that we each deserve.
Christmas in Mexico Photo Gallery: Mexico Travel Photography
For all my Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Parsi, Buddhist, Bahai, agnostic, atheist friends around the world, and those whose religions I do not know, it is my fervent hope that 2017 becomes the year of reconciliation, cross-cultural acceptance and understanding. We have the opportunity to act locally to make change and bring us together.
Whew, I’m finally home in Oaxaca!
After a long night of delayed flights due to weather in Tijuana, a bumpy ride, followed by a five-hour nap, and a late night of traditional Christmas Eve celebration with my beloved Chavez Santiago family in Teotitlan eating stuffed turkey laden with plenty of tryptophan, I am awake to a new day. Almost normal.
I’m drinking a great cup of strong Oaxaca coffee. The sun is up and it’s going to be a glorious day.
This year, Christmas and Hanukkah converge once more. Feliz Navidad. Chag Sameach. Two weeks ago, in Bhuj, Gujarat, India, I celebrated Eid and Mohammed’s Birthday with Salim Wazir and his family. We sat on the floor around a feast covered tablecloth and ate together. My Muslim friends wore white, a symbol of purity.
My son Jacob and I crossed over the bridge linking the USA to the Tijuana, Mexico, airport. I met a 16-year old returning to Oaxaca who hasn’t seen his mother and sisters in four years.
I said to him, I bet you have a story to tell.
Yes, he nodded.
I could only imagine.
I saw a mix of people carrying USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua passports going home for Christmas to visit family. I am reminded how connection is so important in our lives. How the Berlin wall fell. That walls cannot break us.
In Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, this morning I awakened to cojetes — firecrackers — and the sound of music. Christmas music. Tunes we are familiar with — Silent Night, White Christmas, Joy to the World and Feliz Navidad — sung in Spanish, blared out over a loud-speaker from somewhere in the village. Tunes whose origins are German, American, Latin, religious and secular, some composed by a Jewish immigrant Irving Berlin.
In the past thirteen years since I first started coming here regularly, it seems that USA popular culture has infiltrated our local villages more and more. Blinking holiday lights, reindeer on rooftops and x-Box games on big screen TVs are more prevalent than ever.
Change happens. It is neither good or evil. It is to be discussed, explored, researched and understood. Whatever the next Man in D.C. tries to do, I defy him to build a wall that separates families. He is not my president.
This is what dads do in Mexico. They kiss and hold their babies. They don’t want to be separated.