How We Celebrate Christmas

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My husband, Col. Ruben Guinolbay, gave my children RG and MM, bikes for their Christmas presents.

Christmas time is always family time.  At the time November was ending, I was already planning my family get away, the toys  that I will be buying for my children and for myself.Well of course, my plans depended on how much money I will be receiving for my bonus. However,  after a ten day confinement at the hospital, and the  harsh reality of finally receiving the most awaited thirteenth month pay with TAX, of course, the long dreamed family get away and the hi tech toys i intended to buy for my children and myself had to be archived- in the meantime. Don’t get me wrong, I still think positive. Anyway, as usual, I have finished the nine day Misa De Gallo  (rooster’s mass) which is a Filipino Catholic tradition. I thanked God for a good year and I must admit,  I  still prayed  essentially for the same things like not being “short” on funds and not having any health problems for the incoming year 2016.

This is the Sta. Clara Church, Pasay. This is where I attended the Misa De Gallo  at 4:00 in the morning.  Roman Catholic Filipinos believe that they are entitled to more blessings after completing the nine  day Christmas masses which  culminate on Christmas eve.

Thanks to my  siblings and cousins, the toys which I was not able to buy for my children were  wrapped by them as presents; to my children’s delight. (See that, finishing Misa De Gallo  indeed  yielded miracles.) This is what my Cousin Dino gave my boys.

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Christmas tree

This is what my dad's tree look like during the day.
This used to be a coconut tree; now, only the trunk remains. My Dad decided to cut it down due to the safety hazards it poses on my children.

Not  all families are happy this year, in my office alone,  an office mate lost his parents and he himself eventually died of complications from diabetes,  barely two weeks after his dad was buried.  Guess what, all three deaths in that family happened this year. Further, a fellow lawyer recently got diagnosed with lung cancer- stage 4.  Another office mate lost her mom during Christmas eve. These three families will never be whole again. They will never celebrate Christmas the same  way again.  But, life goes on. In view of the three unfortunate events, my office mates and I decided to celebrate our  Christmas party with a Merry Montage of pictures. See this picture, I’m wearing violet:12357115_10207187621901395_2781551567842562298_o

Wearing white this time.

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2015 Legal Services Group Christmas Party. I am  at the center wearing black.

Given the several deaths, all funerals attended by yours truly, I decided to pay more attention to my family, specially my aging parents. Even if climbing and hanging ornaments on my dad’s make shift backyard tree proved to be challenging, the back pains I suffered was inconsequential compared to the magnitude of happiness my dad felt upon seeing his little project decorated.  You see, I was not expecting any rewards, but he rewarded me monetarily nonetheless.

This is what the tree looks like at night.
This is what Dad’s Christmas tree looks like at night.

You see,  this Christmas was not spent the way I planned it. But still, I felt very happy because, simple things MATTER more than material things.

This is my family.
This is my family. My parents are those wearing crowns.

After all, let us not forget why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.

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