forget SMP, just remember JESUS

“And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid, for behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

in the Philippines, we celebrate Christmas the longest.  as early as September, we would not be surprised to hear Christmas carols and see lanterns hang on front windows.  amazingly, everyone tries to complete that Christmas list and constantly makes update from time to time.  soon as bonuses and cash gifts are received, off they go to night markets and malls to avoid that Christmas rush.  but time is never enough, that even on Christmas eve, some are still running to purchase that last pack of spaghetti and can of fruit salad.  oooops! only to be reminded, they still have to find that oh so affordable pear-shaped ham; if they are still available.

indeed, the holiday season is never that stressful, hypertensive yet exciting and fun than that of a Pinoy Christmas.  as cash runs out as fast as Santa’s sleigh reaches every chimney from the north pole (as we imagined when we were younger), we do get tired too.  it is during this slow-down episodes, that we tend to ponder what the ga-ga was really all about.  and we find ourselves going back to what Christmas really means.

it is not about money.

it is not about that tree, nor rice lights and lanterns.

it is not about the spaghetti…

nor the fruit salad, the ham or the lechon.

it is not about who will keep us warm.

indeed, it is never about us.

so what if we don’t have money?

or colorful trees and sparkling rice lights or star-shaped lanterns?

so what if we don’t have spaghetti, fruit salad, ham or lechon?

so what if there is nobody to hug us and keep us warm? we will only be teased as part of SMP or Samahan ng Malalamig ang Pasko (a group of people who will have a chilly holiday because they are single).

yes, i know it’s mind-boggling to ever imagine having to spend Christmas without any or all of the above.  but think of it this way.  at times when we are reduced to zero (as in nada, nil, kaput…in tagalog “walang-wala”, “said”, “ubos”, “limas”), the Lord is gearing up for our replenishment.  He empties us, to fill us up again.  and it is all because of love.  that is exactly why Jesus was born – to empty himself out for us to gain the fullness of salvation.  and that my friends, would not have been possible, if the first Christmas did not ever take place.

Christmas is all about Jesus.  if we could imagine vividly how he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in his manger, we can almost feel how warm and cozy baby Jesus must have felt when he was born.  Joseph and Mary were not rich.  there was no Christmas tree in the stable, but there came the wise men Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar, and so did the shepherds. there were no fancy lights, but there was a bright star in the sky that was able to guide everyone to Bethlehem.  definitely no spaghetti, fruit salad, ham or lechon.  there were no parties but the angels kept on singing.  if we truly find in our hearts the essence of  Christmas which is LOVE, we will never again be part of SMP, ever. so be still everyone, warm up and just love one another. 

afterall, JESUS is the reason we celebrate Christmas.  no more, no less…

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tears of the candle

“Make known to me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths.  Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

it’s Christmas time once again.  and even far away from the Philippines, the spirit of the season will always remain in our hearts; even in a country where Christmas is just another ordinary working day, and those lights blink whole year round not to remind everyone of the birth of Jesus, but to make their establishments easier to find.

as early as september, we already have our simple Christmas tree in place.  we thought that would counter last year’s sad memories because of my daddy’s passing, and because i knew i had to undergo surgery before the holidays.  we also have advent candles on the mini-altar on my bedside.

there was always a candle lit up for the daily bible readings and prayers.  but today, there were three because it was already the third week of advent.  as i prayed the rosary, i got to stare as the wicks swayed in a synchronized fashion.  as expected, the melted wax trickled down, like tears flowing down one’s cheeks.  this time however, instead of them running to the base of the candle, they jumped off from the tip of the glass to the tabletop where violet drops lay, waiting to be scraped off when i’m done with my prayers.

however, even before i was through, i decided to let them stay. for one, these teenie-weenie candle droplets taught me a lesson as my eyes remained glued to them long after the prayers were over.

we bought these new candles: three violets, one pink and one white, and placed them on used glass containers within which, melted candle laid.  using a small kitchen knife, i carefully scraped a cylinder in the middle of each glass, just enough for the new candles to fit and stand firm, and saved a space around them where the melted wax would eventually flow and gather.  the bottom end of each new candle was heated over a lighter flame so it would stick to the base where the candle would then stand.  after the preparations, the advent candles majestically stood there, all five of them, and i am certain they would serve their purpose all throughout the season.

but why these droplets on the side table? i was careful to make enough space and depth to catch each of them.  so where did i go wrong? i kept wondering why, until i realized i see life much like the tears of the candle.  no matter how meticulously you plan so that your future would be solid as a rock, there really is no guarantee it would be.  we can stand securely in our glass containers and firmly stick to our base, but we will never know when the table would be shaken or if the wind would suddenly blow our flames away.  you may think life sucks when that happens.  but then that’s one truth that we have to accept.  we may have power as the candle when it lights up,  but we can never have control over what lies beyond.  only God does.

 when we were born into this world, God lit our lives to shine, so that others may see the glory of his power in us.  life is not about us, it is all about God.  when things get out of hand and we messed up with the life that he gave, so that the light that we have seem to fade away, all we have to do is to surrender. let Him take over.  only He decides if He would scrape the violet droplets… or let them stay to teach a lesson to others, so that we may glorify Him in our own tears.