I spent two years as a Jesuit Volunteer in Managua, Nicaragua. It worked out that I happened to be there for three Christmases, and I noticed that this song always got a lot of play right around Christmas time. It's called "El Cristo de Palacaguina", "The Christ of Palacaguina." Palacaguina is a small mountain town in the north of Nicaragua, so the song is about Christ being born to the peasants of the rural countryside. A Christ born to a simple humble background with which the poor can more closely identify! Not the curly blond-haired, blue-eyed child we feature so often in our Nativity scenes in the North, but a dark-skinned, indigenous Christ; the Divine manifested as human who has chosen the poor campesinos of the world to bring about his salvation!
It's a beautiful revolutionary song with a great melody. One of my favorite lines, roughly translated, from the second verse:
"The people all gathered together to see him,
The Indian Joaquin brought him quesillo from Nagarote,
Instead of gold, incense and myrrh they gave him
Cookies from Diriomo and even buñelos from Guadalupe"
And if you ever have the pleasure of running across Krista Colleague Michael Marchesini, who also spent several years in Managua, ask him to play you his version! He plays a mean classical guitar. Feliz Navidad y que viva el Cristo de Palacaguina!
Read more about Sean below
Un Nuevo Amanecer mural at the North Batahola Cultural Center, Managua
As a Jesuit Volunteer from 2009-11, Sean worked with the Nicaraguan organization CANTERA doing youth organizing in at-risk barrios in Managua. He is returning to Nicaragua to work in Ciudad Sandino on the outskirts of Managua with CANTERA again, starting in January 2013!