My PC Desktop table on Christmas
Last night I attended an Christmas Exchange Gift party of my friends, we're just 11 souls that gathered to celebrate Christmas in synchronicity to million OFWs worldwide that celebrate Christmas. My friends have prepared Chicken Caldereta, Biko and Cassava cake, fried chicken, Lumpia and Macaroni Salad and Pancit.
The exchange gift event highlights the evening, 11 gifts were raffled and drawn among us, and to my surprise I got a Rice Cooker, a blessing in time to replace my 8-year old Rice Cooker that needs retirement.
Christmas Exchange Gift Rice Cooker
The night ended with typical OFW stories about family and familiar OFW Christmas tales. And as we talk about love, our story telling drifted into the meaning of Christmas - love, sacrifice and gift giving, suddenly it reminded me of a familar lines that perhaps you have uttered it at least once in your OFW life:
"Kamusta kayo dyan, okay lang ako dito, mahalaga masaya kayo sa Pasko"
At habang nagsasalita'y kapansin pansin ang garalgal na tinig at di alintana ang pagpatak ng luha mula sa mata.
OFWs around the world, particularly those who are separated from their love ones due to migration especially those that are in Middle East countries where Christmas is not celebrated at least publicly were more emotionally depressed during Christmas season, but with their courage and determination to surpass the trials in life, they celebrate Christmas in their own humble way through prayers and small social group gatherings.
Being alone in a lonely planet as an OFW should not stop us Filipinos to celebrate Christmas. As I long for traditional Christmas lights and lanterns, the thick smell of baked bibingka and puto bungbong - celebrating Christmas in a foreign land means getting in touch with your love ones, as I called them this morning and with an assurance voice I gently say:
"Kumpleto na ang Pasko ko, basta marinig ko lang ang mga boses ninyo"
It is one of the many occasions that I call my family over the phone, from my wife, to my children Geeka, Jason and my daughter-in-law Mely, and my makukulit and adorable na mga apo, Jarem (7 years old) and Janna (six years old), but Christmas is always different.
We all missed the Simbang Gabi, the bibingka't puto bungbong but it does not dampen our spirits to celebrate Christmas. Because for most of us OFWs celebrating Christmas is opening ourselves to God, allowing the true spirit of Christmas which is LOVE, PEACE and JOY to enter into our hearts and let it reign as we give praise and thanks the Almighty for His Divine gift to Mankind - the birth of the Holy Child.
Let Christmas begin within your own family - let love starts with your spouse, your partner, your children... and whole family and expands to all world. Let's spread love, they're just a a phone call away... and say: