Yes, the holiday season is here!!! I can really feel the cool December breeze of Christmas in the air, smell it in the luscious holiday goodies, and ultimately see it in the countless Christmas lights in the malls, in the streets, in the parks, and most especially in our home, too. Indeed, this is the season to be treasured and celebrated because it is the joyous birth of our Lord Jesus Christ – our great Savior and Healer. The birth of Jesus Christ signifies that God’s Word as shown in ~ Isaiah 9:2 became flesh and lived among us:
You might be surprised to know it, but it is true; our Christmas season in the Philippines is the longest one in the whole wide world for it starts from December 25 till January 6, 2013, which is the day of the Epiphany. You can truly experience a unique celebration of Christmas only here in the Philippines. First, since Philippines is one of the two predominantly countries in Asia (East Timor is the other one), Filipinos begin the celebration of the season with the so called “midnight mass” or “simbang gabi” or Misa de Gallo to give thanks to God Almighty for bestowing Jesus as our Saviour, to show our devotion to His beloved Son Jesus Christ, and to pray for more blessings and graces. It is really wonderful to wake up as early as 4:00 o’clock in the midnight while the gust of windy December air creeps through my jacket as we walk through our way to the church. It is really exhilarating to spend midnight masses with your family and friends especially during this special joyous occasion; and quite fulfilling when one is able to complete the consecutive nine (9) nights of novena midnight masses since it signifies the realization of one’s wishes and dreams. As we headed our way to the church, I can already see the long queue of the crowd gathered inside the church to listen to the homily of the priest. After the midnight mass, I was delighted to see several vendors beside the church selling my favorite puto bumbong (a purple sticky rice delicacy steamed in bamboo tubes), bibingka (rice flour and egg-based cake), puto (another rice delicacy with a twist) and other sweet native delicacies. Of course, we bought some of them to complement with our early breakfast of brewed hot chocolate prepared by my mother (he..he..he..). Here, come and taste my favorites!!
My most awaited part of the season is the Christmas Eve where the families dine together the sumptuous and luscious food on the table or the Noche Buena feast.
Christmas is indeed heartwarming because Filipinos ensure that they come home to be with their loved ones on Christmas Day. Although our Filipino overseas workers live and work in distant faraway places, the million miles distance don’t prevent them from being together because they always make an effort to communicate with the members of the family via social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, etc. even though some of them can’t make it home for Christmas. Thanks for the wonderful gift of modern age of technology and the world wide web because the world is getting smaller, smaller, and smaller (he..he.he..) for families here and everywhere. Our celebration of Christmas in the Philippines is mostly traditional because ours is a family-oriented society. The spirits of giving, forgiving, sharing, and loving continue to be the burning flame that forges every Filipino’s hearts and minds wherever whenever. Indeed, home is where the heart is…
★˛˚˛*˛°.˛*.˛°˛.*★ MERRY CHRISTMAS 。*˛.
˛°_██_*.。*./ ♥ \ .˛* .˛。.˛.*.★* ★ 。*
˛. (´• ̮•)*.。*/♫.♫\*˛.* ˛_Π_____ HAPPY NEW YEAR ♥ ˛* ˛*
.°( . • ) ˛°./• ‘♫ ‘ •\.˛*./______/~＼*. ˛*.。˛* ˛.*。
*(…’ ) *˛╬╬╬╬╬˛°.｜田田 ｜門｜╬╬╬╬╬*˚ .˛♥.♥♥*✲
Some of the local government units in the different provinces also hold “Panunuluyan” depicting the journey of Mama Mary and Saint Joseph in search of lodging for the birth of Jesus Christ. We Filipinos are also very happy to decorate our homes and offices with one of our traditional symbols of Christmas – Belen, a Spanish term derived for the word Bethlehem which is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. This nativity scene or crèche showing the infant Jesus Christ, surrounded by the Virgin Mama Mary, Saint Joseph, the shepherds and their flock, the three magi or kings, and stable animals with an Angel, and the Star that lights and guides the three magi (kings) on their way to the nativity is one of the most well-loved scenes of the festive atmosphere of Christmas.
Our Christmas décors would not be complete without mentioning the Parol or the star-shaped lanterns which represent the Star of Bethlehem. It is very iconic to all Filipinos because it conveys meaningful message of love, faith, and hope brought about by the birth of Jesus Christ. I remember the time when I was in elementary where my teacher required us to submit lanterns as our project. It is really awesome to make parol because it stimulates one’s creativity and artistry to make it stand out from the rest. Anyone who can present a unique and artistic parol would win the coveted prizes of cash and gifts from the sponsors and organizers of the contest. Indeed, Christmas always bring joy and laughter to all people especially to kids. The happiness of the season in the hearts of the people can truly never be bought by any heaps of millions and glitters of diamond in the world.
The celebration of Christmas lighted up by the spirit of sharing also signals the start of the brand new year with dazzling bountiful harvest of blessings. I believe that the spirit of Christmas season, which we most specially feel every 25th of December, can be re-lived all throughout the year. The spirit of giving, forgiving, sharing, and loving should always be our guiding principles in our everyday lives as we welcome this New Year.
The joy and hope that this New Year brings to our lives seems to give us more energy and optimism in life. Personally, I have so many dreams, wishes, and goals to be attained this 2013 and I always pray that God Almighty will bless me that it will come true. I always believe that with God’s guidance and wisdom, He will help me achieve this goal.
We all have dreams and goals in life. Some of them are larger than life, sentimental, engaging, or whatever; however, at the end of the day, we must realize that our dreams and goals in life will become reality if they are coupled with hard work, enthusiasm, dedication, and happy heart.
I am wishing you all, too that each of our dreams and desire will come true this 2013 and the succeeding years. I am praying for the good health, graces, and more blessings for me and my family. I am also praying for the unity, solidarity, and brotherhood in the Supreme Court of the Philippines where I belong in performing its noble cause to be the true beacons of democracy and social justice; economic prosperity of our beloved country Philippines; and world peace in the entire universe.
Have a bountiful harvest of blessings and divine graces, happy and prosperous 2013 and coming years to all of us!
*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆ ★ ☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸ ☆★☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°• .¸☆ ☆ This is a big hug for the New Year ☆ .•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆ to spread lots of love and happiness ☆•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆ ☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.☆ May you have a New Year filled with love, laughter and peace ☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸ ☆ ♥ ★ ♥☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•. ¸☆♥ ♥ Share the hug*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆