Radio and televisions programs, countless Christmas carols are sung by many popular singers, from Bing Crosby to Michael Buble’; the malls and the stores are teeming with people, days closer to the Christmas Day, buying gifts for their loved ones. Food and drinks are being ordered for family Christmas dinner; and Churches are ready for Christmas mass and other rituals celebrating the Birth of Jesus.
Facebook and other social media have been sending the messages of Christmas, so many messages, like quotations about Christmas from well-known people, define the full meaning of Christmas, finding that this yearly celebration has so much impact on their lives,
Even Christmas cards we sent and we received have big Christmas wording, not the Holiday Greeting: From MP Joy Smith: “Faith makes all things possibles, Hope makes all things work, Love makes all things beautiful, May you have all the three his Christmas. Merry Christmas.” St. Paul College Foundation has a more profound message from the quotation written by Chiara Lubich: “When we worship you in the form of bread…we always see you as an adult. But every year at Christmas, you reveal yourself to us as a Child born in a crib, We stand in silent amazement.”
The spirit of Christmas is everywhere!
And Hope, Love, Peace and Joy are strong words in the Christmas message, and the universal acceptance of Christmas has become much stronger, much more meaningful to most people in the Christian world.
Celebrating Christmas has been our family’s long-time tradition. And most families in our hometown, and every town and city, Christmas celebration starts earlier by “Misa de Gallo”, or the midnight mass, leading to the Christmas Day.
I remember when we were young, eight of us plus my mom, Christmas celebration is very special. Apples, grapes and castanas were considered gold and Christmas is not complete without these imported fruits and nut. Santa Claus was not the centre of our celebration, instead, our focus wasthe “Misa de Gallo” and the “Nativity” ritual
We had lanterns or parol made by my brother, and from Coca Cola (20 caps collected could be exchanged for one lantern) hanging outside our home; our Christmas tree which was made of brush, trimmed to look like a pine tree had all the decorations made by my sisters the “cadena” ( a ring, made of a construction paper, chained together), some bells and balls; and to have a snow effect,we would put white cotton on top of every cone. After the Christmas Midnight Mass, the family heirloom, “arroz de valenciana” and”tsokolate E” were the centre of our “noche buena”. Visit to our ninongs, ninangs and relatives would take the whole day of December 25th, our pockets were bulging with money and “tikoy”.
And now, in Canada, our tradition continues: Christmas tree is decorated and lighted; Santa Claus has become the centre of gift giving, midnight mass is being celebrated and in spite of the cold weather, that “winter wonderland” gives us the real meaning of white Christmas; and gift-giving becomes a tradition by helping other charitable initiatives: we gather food for the Winnipeg Harvest, we donate to the Christmas Board, we share food with the less fortunate at Siloam Missions.
Let Hope, Love, Peace and Joy be the centre of your Christmas celebration.
And with a wisp of a wintry wind, gushing gently on my face, as the sun shines in the vast blue sky, and I say quietly with a fervent prayer, and a personal greeting to you and your family: ISANG MALIGAYANG PASKO SA INYONG LAHAT! (Merry Christmas To All)