You may remember Jayson’s post from Dec. 25 entitled “Today is Not Christmas”. Well, we have been able to extend our celebration of Christmas being here in Egypt, and finally, tomorrow, January 6, we will celebrate Coptic Christmas Eve. We are still establishing our traditions, as he mentioned, but for this first Christmas in Egypt, we decided to travel to a town about 3 hours south of Cairo, called Maghagha. We will travel by train tomorrow evening, arriving around 10pm as the Coptic Church is in full swing for their very special Christmas Eve service. All over Egypt, Christians will be worshipping God in their churches until midnight, at which time they will return to their homes for the big Christmas meal. One of the reasons the meal occurs directly after the midnight mass is that traditionally, Copts fast for 40+ days prior to Christmas. This fast includes abstaining from all animal products, and thus, once midnight of Christmas Eve hits, the fast is broken, and the Christians can celebrate the birth of their Savior with food and fellowship.
I am sure we will have more to say about this when we return from our trip on Saturday, but for now, just know that we will participate as best we can in this midnight mass, with our two little ones in tow, and then in the Christmas feast at someone’s house, again, with our two little ones preferably sleeping in tow. I am sure we will have many stories and adventures to share following four days of celebration outside of Cairo. Stay tuned.