Christmas here in Nepal was quiet and wonderful. The country hardly notices Christmas. The restaurants that cater to tourists offer a "Christmas Meal," and that's about it. It's quite nice, really, Christmas is free to be a religious holiday. And it was.
I spent Christmas eve with my Tibetan family, from left to right: Tsering Droga, Tenzin Pema, Dawa Yangzum, Tenzin Ramjam, Tsering Yangzum Lama, Tenzin Tundrup (our live-in nun/housekeeper Anne (Sonam Debey). is not in this photo). We exchanged gifts, as I had told them about the wise men and where gift giving comes from. They gave me a wonderful multi-colored coat.
Christmas morning I had a sunrise mass with the Missionary of Charity sisters, and supper later that evening with the Jesuits at their big community in Jawakel. It was the best of both worlds. The sisters know how to pray and the Jesuits know how to throw a party. You wouldn't want to do this the other way around.
Best of all, I was in no hurry. No Christmas rush or schedule to keep. Being in Nepal freed me from the layers of history, ghosts of Christmases past. With no expectations and little reference points, for once, I could just let Christmas be. I got to sit back and watch Christ be born into the world again, a babe in a strange place, all potential and promise and love.