Christmas I Remember

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger…..

Growing up, I remember our Christmases were not festive and elaborate. We didn’t get a tree, much less a lighted one until I think I was in my 20’s. I remember helping my Mom make a Christmas Tree, a wreath and a lantern made out of IBM cards. We would hang the wreath by the door, the lantern was hung by the window and we put the tree somewhere in a corner in our house. We would be the ONLY house with decorations like that and it made me feel kinda special! Christmas Eve, we would hang old socks by the window, for Santa to leave us something. In the Philippines, we have what we called “Noche Buena” (the Good Night) where the whole family enjoyed a festive meal. Most times, we skipped it. We ate our dinner as we normally did and then headed to bed before midnight. Christmas morning, we would head straight to the window where we hung our socks to find coins, candies and if lucky, chocolates that Santa left for us to enjoy. As the sun rises, we would don our nicest clothes and head out to kiss (“Mapo Po“) our elders and godparents hands and greet them Merry Christmas (“Namamasko Po“). By doing so, we get to eat or take home some Filipino delicacies and if lucky, paper money. Upon getting home, we would count how much money we had and gladly hand it over to our parents. Of course, we head out to church to hear mass as a family. Then ate our humble meal as a family. Yes, I didn’t mention gifts. We didn’t ask, look and expect for any gifts….at all. You know that time, when the Grinch realizes that Christmas comes without tags, ribbons and that perhaps it means a little bit more…? We knew that a long time ago. It’s true. And it’s beautiful! This is the Christmas I remember…..and I miss it.

Today, Christ is being taken out of Christmas. He is being replaced with an X, a Happy Holidays and all the glitters, festivities, colorful lights and the massive gifts under the tree. What if we took away everything that glitters, the festive lights, the tags and ribbons and boxes and bags?

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…And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Will this be the year…?

“For one year at least, in case they were tempted to forget, they too were reminded that Christmas still comes without ribbons, without tags, without packages or boxes or bags – that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, but that it is about . . . something more.”

Let us not take Christ out of Christ’s Mass….

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!

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