Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Christmas Season

It maybe late to divulge this kind of topic but hey, it’s still Christmas according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. It usually concludes on the feast of Purification of Our Lady or on Septuagesima Sunday. Whichever comes first.

Yuletide season never became a hustle-free for our family as Mom always gives a great emphasis on this. We usually prepare beforehand for Christmas day that all of the family members are truly busy when December hits the calendar.

December 1: Inspecting of Christmas lights. Arranging and reusing then replacing the burnt bulbs. My two brothers were expert when it comes to electrical stuffs and so they’re the ones who fixed it.

December 10: Christmas shopping for Mom - from foods to gifts. Also, throughout the month, Mom never tires of buying Christmas decorations! It sucks since we’re the ones who install it and mind you, not just once! It could be twice or thrice according to what best suits her!!!

December 15/16: Making of Christmas lanterns. It would actually be finished just before the day of hanging it up. The 2 lanterns were a bit unique this time since it got Chinese balls instead of its traditional tassels.

December 22/23: Decors! It’s decking-the-home day! We set up the tree, the garlands and lights everywhere. Then at the background is the Christmas music of Jose Mari Chan and Carpenters. We also had a Santa and reindeers frame that was hung up the kitchen’s cupboard. Just a reminder: on the 23rd was a fast and abstinence day. It was indeed an extra effort to work with hungry stomachs!

December 24: Day of cooking for the Noche Buena. As vegans, we had spaghetti without cheese (it still tasted delicious!) and siopao that’s completely vegan as well. I didn’t eat, actually, since I don’t feel like celebrating without Midnight Mass.

December 25: Christmas day! Finally, we’re able to enjoy our hardships - seeing those Christmas decors here or there that’s well positioned. Mom went to St. Elizabeth hospital’s Chapel at GenSan and was accompanied by my eldest brother. The rest of us stayed at home celebrating in a simple yet delightful way. My 3rd sister decided to download “Give love on Christmas day” by Michael Jackson on YouTube while the other 3 remaining watched movie videos of “Alexander” and “Titanic”. As for me, well, you bet, I just prayed. Anyways, that doesn’t mean my siblings didn’t’ pray. We had our usual community prayers still.

At night, the family was already complete (save Dad who couldn’t come) and we watched “A Holiday for Love” and “Home Alone”.

December 27: Special day for the SSPX as there were priesthood ordinations at Holy Cross Seminary, Australia. It was also significant for the Philippines as 3 Filipinos were ordained on this very same date. I offered my other 2 Rosaries for them. One was for the ordinands and the second was for those who’re celebrating their priesthood anniversaries. Oh St. John the Apostle, do thou make them always sanctified that they be faithful to their sacred priesthood!

December 28: Got the email of Fr. Saa dated December 24. he wished us, the recipients, a very blessed Christmas and New Year and included us on his Midnight Mass. Father is in far away Zimbabwe and too bad I couldn’t reply thanks. Hope someday… or perhaps he’d get to read this. So, here it goes. Thanks a lot for remembering us. It really consoled me! Be assured of my continued prayers for you, Father! May Our Lady always assist you in being faithful to your sublime vocation!

December 30: On the evening, we toured Koronadal for the Christmas lights. Wonderful but not as awesome as last year. Anyhow, it’s great to see that the people still lit up despite the global financial crisis.

December 31: Last day of the year. Mom bought varieties of fruits as it’s a Chinese tradition and we also had pancit bihon (vermicelli noodles) for dinner. We watched “Pacifier” and “Sound of Music”. On the midnight, there were fireworks and noise around the city. I was half-asleep already but Mom woke us up for the usual recital of the Rosary. I could barely catch up, even though I was sitting, since I was exhausted during the day.

January 1: Voila 2009! The year welcomed me with a not-so-good health as I got a bad throat this morning. I told you - I wasn’t feeling well! But, the celebration must continue on. We re-watched the “Sound of Music” during the day.

January 3: My first Mass of the year. I felt so relieved now that I could unburden my life’s joys and pains with my Savior at Holy Communion. In his sermon, Father explained the necessity of being always in the state of grace most especially now that we’re yet on another year - making us older and older.

January 6: Feast of Epiphany. This is the day when we opened our gifts and behold! It was so cute and I never thought Mom would give us that - a stuffed pig doll dressed in pink! My brothers had a gold piggy bank as theirs. Now, those piggies sit, play and sleep at our beds while my brothers’ stay at their room on top of the cabinet.

On the evening, once more, we watched movies. “Hudson Hawk” on cable and “The Christmas Wish” on video. In my experience, watching sprees are one of the major obstacles in attaining sanctity. It distracts my soul in prayer and makes me forgetful in contemplating of God’s ultimate love for me - in the sense that I feel lost and devastated every time. Yet, as a family member, I must yield to it. My greatest consolation is St. Paul’s word that "...if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."

January 7: Bringing down of all Christmas decors. It’s so easy pulling it down and yet it took us the whole 2 weeks (or more) just to prepare it. Wow! Anyway, we’ll see them 11 months from now.

Thus, our Christmas officially ended. We’re back to our usual routine and austerity measures but somehow, we still carry the spirit of Christmas in us. Like I said, it’s still Christmas! We get to sing Christmas songs every now and then and one of my favorites is the “12 days of Christmas”. It is because it got a spiritual value. The “partridge in a pear tree” is actually the Divine Babe. Oh, how sweet indeed!

2009 is here. Time to be a better daughter of God. As Father advised, if we didn’t make it good last year, now is the year to improve our souls’ status with Our Lord. People may feel weaker this year, as he also said, and I admit I’m one of those. But we got to be braver for His sake. Not only braver, but humbler and ever patient while at the same time, imitating our Blessed Mother.

Oh Blessed Virgin Mary, do keep us near thee that we may better serve thy Son. Mold us to be a true follower of Our Lord and hence, meriting for us, eternal bliss! Amen.

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