The incongruity of it has stayed with me. But that was part of my delight in the experience.

            We were on our parish Mission Trip to Guatemala when we took a Sunday afternoon break and visited a small town, Santa Catarina, on Lake Atitlan. Very few tourists come to this town, but Maria, a ten-year old entrepreneur was ready for us. She was dressed in the traditional Kaqchikel Mayan clothing and greeted us outside the church. Within minutes she had sold each of us some greeting cards that her mother made in their house.

            Perhaps because she had no other customers, she continued to talk with us. Then she told us (in Spanish) she wanted to sing a song in English that she had learned in their little school. Then she sang a song about a dreidel, the little toy that is used at Hanukkah time. I was amazed: a Mayan girl in a faraway land singing a Jewish song in English to us gringos!

            What a wonderful world we live in. Maybe we need more people like Maria who are willing to cross cultural borders and discover there is a bigger world.

            As we celebrate Christmas, our Jewish sisters and brothers are observing Hanukkah, the feast of lights. As one, we remember that this world needs more light.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.”

Matthew 5:14