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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas 2012’


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To all my followers here at WordPress, I would like to wish a very Merry Christmas.  Thank you so much for your encouraging and lovely comments. Thank you too for liking my posts. It’s such a joy to meet you all here!  Big thanks too to those who are following me at these sites.

Our Precious Bundle of Joy   – my newest blog on my grandson
Cams and Photos  – my photography blog
Gardens and Empty Spaces   – my garden blog

You’ve made blogging something  that I look forward to every day.

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Time and again, I’ve blogged about our beloved Archbishop Tagle. He is one of the well-loved and most admired archbishops  in our country and now that he is a cardinal, he has gained more admiration from the Catholic faithful. Here is a copy of his Christmas message for this year.  I love that line, “Christmas is all about faith”.

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This year we celebrate the Christmas Season within the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI. What can the Year of Faith contribute to the Christmas spirit? Faith is a living and sustained relationship with God. It is the Triune God who initiates this relationship by coming to us. Faith becomes complete in our response to God in trust and love, transforming our relationship with other people, society and creation.

In a real sense, Christmas is all about faith. To remove faith from Christmas is to empty it of its meaning. It is a season born of faith and a privileged time to renew our faith. On the one hand, Christmas vividly recalls the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ, incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit. He comes as one like us except in sin, because as the Savior he cannot participate in humanity’s rejection of God. He opens the door for us to enter God’s life. His obedience and fidelity is the door to God. He is the way.  On the other hand, every Christmas season invites us to receive Jesus as the true Son of God become flesh, to accept him as our Savior and to enter the door to life in the Holy Spirit. Faith in God leads us to solidarity with our neighbors, especially the poor whom Jesus loves. Faith makes us sharers in Jesus’ saving mission and heralds of true freedom from all that enslaves us.

I pray that all Christians may appreciate more the precious gift of faith during this Christmas season. As we behold the Christ Child, humble and poor, let us thank God for his great love for us and let us respond with all the love we could give. Only pure divine love can save us! I wish all you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!

 

+ LUIS ANTONIO G. CARDINAL TAGLE

Archbishop of Manila

source: veritas846.ph

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Some all-time favorite Christmas Quotes:

“Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, The joy that you give to others Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing The poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart’s possessing Returns to you glad.” – John Greenleaf Whittier

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” – Bob Hope

“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.” – Helen Steiner Rice

I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses. – Taylor Caldwell

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas. – Dale Evans Rogers

It’s eleven days to go before Christmas….have a blessed and merry Christmas everyone!  May the joys of celebrating the birth of the Christ Child live within us all!

 

 

 

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Time sometimes passes like a whirlwind and before you know it, it’s history. I used to blog about month-ends and greet the new month with a bang, this time though, I want to greet you all HAPPY NEW YEAR!  It’s the beginning of the Church’s Liturgical New Year. Advent, the beginning of the Christmas season, another year of hope and faith.

November was a lovely month actually, it was Nissa and Obet’s 1st wedding anniversary, Lovell was ordained into priesthood and I finally became a certified grandma with baby Nate’s coming.  So many blessings Lord, I could cry with gratitude and happiness, tears of joy for a blessed year despite all the setbacks. I could not ask for more except that you keep my family always healthy and well.

The trying times were just mere reminders of how strong one could be amidst the pressures of daily living. They make one realize that he is still lucky and blessed with God’s love. How are you preparing for this season of advent? Are you just as excited too with Jesus’ coming?  Sometimes, in the frenzy of the season, we forget why we are celebrating Christmas. I remember a year ago, I posted this message on my wall: Happy Birthday Jesus! Then one of  my contacts, a mere child of nine asked, “why happy birthday?” So I asked him if he forgot that it’s the reason why we celebrate Christmas.

Mom and I attended the 9am  concelebrated mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish near our place and it’s lovely. Here’s a picture of  the first Sunday of Advent wreath at our Catholic  page,  Apostles Filipino Catholic Community.

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Hmm…I think it’s more than that.  My Don Manuel plant lost its leaves and eventually died more  than a month ago, but  I didn’t think of replacing it with a new one. I thought it would be perfect as a Christmas tree for my small garden. And since I am into recycling old decor, there won’t be a problem with using the small ones in decorating it. I just bought some garlands and more small bells for a song when we had our twice a month marketing this morning. It’s crude I know but I love it. I even thought of spraying the trunk of gold paint but eventually abandoned the idea.

And I love the background…..clouds. they are my favorite subjects in photography. And that lamp-post you see has its own attached lantern in a shape of a bell, our whole street have this uniform decor.

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We normally put up Christmas decorations at the end of November each year but since my artistic daughter is not around to help, I persuaded my son to bring down some of those decorations we have accumulated over the years. Every year, we buy something new, a trinket here and there, new colors of Christmas balls depending on the color theme that we want to achieve. This time though, I want to recycle some decor that we seldom use. My morning was filled with memories of Christmas past.

Yesterday, I found these lovely wooden carts made of bamboo and rattan and I thought they would be perfect for those old decorations we have. There’s nothing like giving a new face to old things 🙂

Does it look like it was recycled? Except for the wooden cart, everything is old.

We have these flowers two years ago when we decided to have the old green and red motif for our Christmas tree.

It’s all red. I wonder where the other decor got to. I could not even find Christmas lights.

And this is an old jar which I used for  candies at Christmas time. I am giving it a new look too.

The final touch of that small vase I had earlier. I think it deserves a place along with my other Christmas decorations.

This is an all time favorite decor – a musical waterglobe with revolving outer globe by Kirkland, a regular fixture during Christmas for the last ten years or so.

Just a friendly tip, don’t throw away the original boxes of your Christmas decorations, they are easier to organize and keep after the holidays are gone. Even those nice shoe boxes and plastic biscuit tins come in handy for those small and delicate decor. Label the boxes for easy storing and identification.

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Every year, ABS CBN, one of the largest TV network in the country comes up with a Christmas station ID that we always look forward to. It signals the start of  a long, long Christmas celebration in the Philippines. It’s  the timeless Parol. Kris says, you can actually buy one at Kultura for the price of P1,800.oo  and a part of it goes to the charity institutions which ABS CBN helps.  I love the message it conveys. Maliwanag ang mundo natin pag bukal sa loob ang pagtutulungan.

(this video remains the property of ABS CBN).

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For some strange reason, this simple pair of socks touched me more than the many gifts  Nissa received during the  baby shower in her office. It’s the thought of having our first Christmas too with baby Nate that makes it an event worth waiting for. A few more days to go…..I’m thrilled!

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I just feel a bit weird just thinking, where has September gone? I used to say goodbye for each month that passes and greet the new month with so much hope and wonder. But when September comes to a close, I am excited that October would show its face again, for the simple reason that it’s my birth month. I am not exactly looking forward to another year of getting older,  it’s more like I am excited about our coming baby. I only have one wish this time, I am praying that baby Nate would have the same birthday as I have.  What a lovely celebration it would be if that happens.

September

I’ll always remember this month as the start of the Christmas season here in the Philippines. Through the years when September comes, you’ll always hear Christmas songs on the radio being played the whole month of September. And I was surprised when I saw Christmas trees on display at National Bookstore this early. And they are not in the traditional color  of green, they come in shocking shades of purple, silver and gold. I was wondering, what color of decor would you combine with a deep shade of violet? Would it match the beauty of the Christmas colors of red, green and gold? I think I’ll forego putting up the Christmas tree this time. I want to have a nativity crèche instead. I am inspired about the story of how the Christmas crèche came to be.

      The history of the Christmas crèche in art and literature is a story in of itself, but the real turning point was St. Francis of Assisi’s inspiration. For the Saint, Christmas had always been the Feast of Feasts, yet he did not think it had been celebrated as it could have been, The poverty of Christ had become lost in the extravagance of the Christmas festivities An idea occurred to him and while on a visit to Rome, he received permission from the Pontiff to put his idea to work.

       The story of how St. Francis of Assisi “invented” the crib is so delightful and inspiring that it might be told or read to the children every year. We give here the account in the very words of Brother Thomas de Celano, who was there when it happened and who wrote it down:

             Blessed Francis called a friend about two weeks before Christmas and said to him: ‘If you desire that we should celebrate this year’s Christmas together at Greccio, go quickly and prepare what I tell you; for I want to enact the memory of the Infant Who was born at Bethlehem, and how He was deprived of all the comforts babies enjoy; how He was bedded in a manger on hay, between an ass and an ox. For once I want to see all this with my own eyes.’ When the good and faithful man had heard this, he departed quickly and prepared in the above-mentioned place everything that the Saint had told him.

            The joyful day approached. The Franciscans were called from many communities. The men and women of the neighborhood, as best they could, prepared candles and torches to brighten the night. Finally the Saint of God arrived, found everything prepared, saw it and rejoiced. The crib was made ready, hay was brought, the ox and ass were led to the spot and Greccio became a new Bethlehem. The night was radiant with joy. The crowds drew near and rejoiced in the novelty of the celebration. Their voices resounded from the woods, and the rocky cliff echoed the jubilant outburst. As they sang in the praise of God, the whole night rang with exultation. The Saint of God stood before the crib, overcome with devotion and wondrous joy. A solemn Mass was sung at the crib.

              The Saint dressed in deacon’s vestments, for a deacon he was [out of humility, St. Francis never became a priest, remaining a deacon all his life]. He sang the Gospel. Then he preached a delightful sermon to the people who stood around him, speaking about the nativity of the poor King and the humble town of Bethlehem. (source: catholictradition.org)

I would love to share this story with baby Nate when he is old enough to understand why we celebrate Christmas. And how lovely and significant it is that we remember the Christ Child who is the reason for celebrating the season. Let it not be cloaked in grandeur but let it be as simple as the child in the manger.

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And before you think I got my wires crossed,  I am just happy that the BER months are finally here. Actually this is my first  Christmas post for this year.

I’ve heard Christmas songs over the radio the past days.  And goodness, they have started counting down the days till Christmas. I always tell myself, I’ll start counting after my birthday. Right now, I am supposed to be writing about my speech this coming month but the lure of blogging is more attractive. I was asked to speak before the Dominican community (Order of Preachers) this coming October in their first social media summit. I’ll call it my thirty minutes of fame, so please wish me luck.

It’s my son’s  day-off and both of us went to the supermarket  to do our monthly groceries. He always laugh when he sees me chatting with the bagger and the cashier while waiting in line  at the counter. They were playing Christmas songs  so I asked, “Why do you think  every time a Christmas carol is played, there’s a mixed feeling of sadness and joy?” They both smiled at me and one of them said, “kasi Ma’am magastos ang pasko.” “Tuwing Pasko”, he added, “di ko alam paano pagkakasiyahin ang bonus ko.”  It’s sad but true. Christmas has become synonymous with extra expenses, buying gifts that sometimes one can’t afford, shopping galore and many more. Blame that on the commercialism of the season.  Sometimes,  in the frenzy of the season, we forget why we are celebrating so I told them that you can celebrate it without all the fanfare. Try attending the novena masses and that in itself is a fulfillment of a lovely Christmas celebration. They both looked at me and smiled.  One of them said, that in her entire life, she completed the nine-day novena only once.  “Salamat Ma’am”, they chorused.   And yes, sharing love with others may yet be the best Christmas gift you can give, all year round without waiting  to hear  Christmas carols of old. Christ is Christmas.

Christmas celebration for us would be a lot more different definitely because, come November, I’ll be having my first grandson. He’ll be the most welcome gift the family will have.

This is one of my best-loved Christmas songs and I am quoting it here in its entirety.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
“Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite.”

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
“Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song high above the trees
With a voice as big as the  sea,
With a voice as big as  the  sea.”

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
“Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold–
Let us bring him silver and gold,
Let us bring him silver and gold.”

Said the king to the people everywhere,
“Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people, everywhere,
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light.”

 

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