Christmas Hopes and Meaning

The (obligatory) family photo on Christmas eve.
The (obligatory) family photo on Christmas eve.

My mom went to Leyte-Samar for a medical-dental mission two weeks before Christmas. I couldn’t be more proud. Together with other “volunteer” doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and dentists, they travelled from town to town to treat and give medicines, their services and their love to the Yolanda survivors.

Hearing her stories made us all teary-eyed. It was so humbling. In effect, we did not have anything new this Christmas. No new clothes. No new shoes. No new accessories. No gifts. No hired help to clean the house (we cleaned the house ourselves for a whole week). No manicure, pedicure. No nothing. Instead of receiving, we packed bag after bag of clothes, shoes and bags to give to others. I admit, I am not the happiest person to celebrate Christmas this year. The excitement was long ago gone. I had nothing to look forward to. It’s like I feel like/for the Yolanda survivors, like I was actually there.

I asked my mom, “Paano kaya kung tayo ang nandoon at nawala ang pamilya, bahay, kabuhayan natin, paano tayo babangon? Saan tayo magsisimula?” We were lost in our own thoughts. Nobody answered. A long stretch of silence followed.

It has been a tough 2013 for our family. I wrote this down a million times. Yet as I look back on all the things that happened this year, the good memories and blessings still outweigh the bad ones. We couldn’t be more blessed to still be alive, with our loved ones, with our livelihood and home (filled with food).

Reflecting on Christmas, or Christ’s birth some 2,000 years ago, He came in the simplest manner possible, became man like you and me (all the hurts, flaws, insecurities, emotions and all shiz that comes with being a human). He came to give life. This hit home. It’s not about me, but about Him. It’s His birthday. So if I stop thinking about myself for a while and start thinking about others for a change, then it would be a better use of my time. I am alive and blessed, and it was all made possible because of this great man. As a bonus, I got to be with the most awesome people alive (aka my family). I may be at lost now, personally fighting my own Yolanda storm, but they will always be there to support and love me, whatever mistakes and decisions that I make (or don’t make). And I bet my red skirt that I am willing to do anything, to fight for and even die for this family.

Looking at this picture gives me a reason to smile. It’s not my birthday, but I have this gift that I get to keep for the rest of my life. Of course, if you’re that good-looking, you’d have a silly smile plastered on your face as well. I mean, just look at us. If you haven’t had enough of our cuteness yet, I’m sure I can post another pic of us on New Year’s eve.

Kidding aside, Christmas hope and meaning: like Jesus and the Holy Family, it is about family and love. Merry and meaningful CHRISTmas to everyone.

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