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Merry Christmas

Filipinos probably celebrate Christmas the earliest of any culture in the world. For us, Christmas begins as soon as the months of the year ending in “-ber” (e.g., September, October, etc.) come around. This is evidenced by the Christmas carols already being played in the malls and Christmas decorations already being put up and sold in many stores in the Philippines.

My mother absolutely loved Christmas. Earlier today, my father and I were sharing this bitter-sweet memory of how, around this time of the year, Mama would have already started preparing her Christmas decorations. Mama would sort them and hang them one- at-a-time each day. Today, this memory has brought tears to my father’s eyes. Simply put, Papa misses Mama, and the thought of putting up a tree this Christmas seems unbearable.

Christmas is a special season of celebrating the Lord’s birth, bringing in good tidings and cheer. But for my family this year, Christmas will be a time of remembering and missing Mama, who cannot be physically with us anymore to celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year”. And even though she is now with the Lord, part of her remains with us, enabling us to reflect upon cherished memories of past Christmas times and look forward to new memories as the Lord heals our hearts – we miss you, Mama.

Since Christmas is already in the air here in the Philippines, then let me be the first one to greet you “Merry Christmas”! Just for the record.

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