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Posts Tagged ‘Closer to God’


Hello everyone!

How was your Christmas celebration? I hope you all enjoyed it. We  have the family including my Mom to celebrate Christmas with.  It was certainly a joy  to see Nate again. We celebrated Noche Buena  at exactly 12 am  after attending mass earlier at our village chapel. It was a quiet celebration, we only opened gifts on Christmas day with  my daughter’s family.

They  came here yesterday to celebrate Christmas with us and  I cooked the Christmas dinner.  Left-over food is still good to go for maybe two days more.  It is always nice to see food nicely spread on the table. Right after dinner, Nate entertained us  singing while playing with his guitar toy.  I wonder how he got those words with a song he definitely invented. Most I could hear were the repetitive words, You Are My Best Friend.   He could really sing in style while at the same time making some moves that we all laughed about.  Was that an exercise Nate or a dance?

Nate playing with his robot toys at the garage.

Nate playing with his robot toys at the garage.

Nate's loot for Christmas...mostly toys!

Nate’s loot for Christmas…mostly toys!

Nissa and  I. Taken this morning when they were about to leave for home.

Nissa and I. Taken this morning when they were about to leave for home.

 

nate-christmas-16

Nate took this shot using a camera stick.

Those lovely moments sharing with the  family – priceless. Hoping 2017 would be a great year for us.

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Greetings of peace.

Finally completed the 9 novena masses for Simbang Gabi. What a joy! What a blessing!

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I would like to wish you all a blessed, happy and merry Christmas. It’s that time of year again when we share the joys that the season brings – time to be merry, time to make friends with those you have hurt and who have hurt you before, time to feel the joy of His coming.  He is the reason why we celebrate Christmas.

Here’s hoping for a bountiful 2017 to all of you. I am grateful for your presence and I am glad to meet those new followers to my blog. Let us make this community a truly happy one.

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Lately, I promised myself to write everyday just like when I participated in WordPress’  Post A Day writing challenge back in 2011 but always, always I get distracted by other things.  There is always something that is ought to be done, there is always something that prevents me from sitting long enough to write a blog post, there is always something better and more urgent to do than blogging.

Josef and I had our twice a month visit at the wet market early this morning.  We make it a point to go there early so we could catch fresher produce.  It is easier to navigate the place when there are  few early risers like us.  One thing that I love about my suki (favorite vendors)  is that they give you discounts especially when you buy by the kilo.  My son knows where we buy meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. It is always a thrill to discover new things at the  wet market. Compared to prices in supermarkets, items are a lot cheaper and fresher.  Come to think of it, they give Christmas gifts too. My fish suki gives me a bottle of fish sauce every year, my other suki gives t-shirt.  Some of them give coin purses that are so handy to use when marketing.  Josef laughs at me when I smile bringing home  these gifts. Simple though they may be, but we always say, it’s the thought that counts.

It’s the third night of Simbang Gabi. 

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.

Emmanuel means God is with us. The gospel today talks about the presence of God in our lives.  It is the presence of God which will complete us, not power, not wealth, not possessions.  We seek God’s presence, we knock so we could be heard and we do this through prayers.  We see  Jesus though in the Holy Eucharist.

emmanuel-god-with-us

May you all be blessed.  Have a nice weekend.

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It’s a little windy outside but just perfect for the second night of Simbang Gabi. The Gospel speaks of the genealogy of Jesus.  There is really no perfect family.  The flaws are there, glaring at you at times  but you learn to accept them in your life.  We often make mistakes but our families  are  there to support us. We often encounter failures but our families are there to lift us up.   Most of the time we are unlovable but still our families love us.

Family and genetics play a big role on how are lives are shaped. When we speak of families, it’s not just the family we were born  to but also those friends who consider us as their own.   They say that blood is thicker than water but it is not always the case. There are times when our closest friends act as our families too.  The beauty of a positive family relationship lies  in the   way we were taught by our elders,  how respect  is inculcated in each one of us. The way we think, act, and feel are greatly influenced by our family.

Nabuhay ang Diyos para maging anak tayo ng Diyos. This is one emphasis I learned from the mass tonight.  God was born for us so we could be children of God.  It may be hard to understand. As baptized Christians, we are now a part of  the genealogy of  Christ.

I’ve checked my dashboard lately and I only have 28% left of my allowed space. Sigh 😦  Maybe I shouldn’t be posting more pictures so I can utilize it well.  Most of my latest photos posted here are downsized  from their original higher  resolutions. This is my 1,890th post by the way and I am glad I’ve reached  a total of 443,307 as I write this.   It is hard to build a number of visits when you are not blogging every day.  and it is also quite hard to think of  varied subjects to write about.  I value every comment and like you post on my blog.   I also consider them as blessings to my blogging journey.  I am  also glad to have found more  online friends lately.  You may visit my new blog if you have time and consider following it too. It’s called Dreams Never End. It is a little different from this one because almost  every post is accompanied by a photo.

Salamat.

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Just attended the first Simbang Gabi at our village chapel. What a beautiful celebration of the mass.  Simbang Gabi which means  “Night Mass”,  Misa de Gallo in Spanish or “Rooster’s Mass”, or Misa de Aguinaldo, “Gift Mass”  is a novena of dawn Masses from December 16-24  which is  Christmas Eve.  It’s a lovely and unique celebration of attending masses which is normally held at dawn  but the Church allows it to be celebrated a little earlier the night before like tonight.  We witnessed the lighting of the Christmas tree inside the chapel and the lighting of the  Christmas Belen  before the mass started.

Christmas celebration in our country is replete with these  age-old traditions which we inherited from our ancestors.  Dawn masses are usually held at 4am  and start on December 16.  We wait for the nine days till Christmas day.  You are blessed if you complete the nine novena masses because they say that you can ask and pray for certain favors  and they will be given to you.

It’s actually almost nine days to go before Christmas. what is more fitting in honoring the Christ Child by offering this novena. Sometimes in the frenzy of preparing for Christmas, we simply forget what it means, the birth of our Saviour.  We are more focused on the material side of  celebrating Christmas –  giving gifts, preparing for Noche Buena feast, parties here and there, office parties everywhere and  lots and lots of Christmas decor in our homes and on the streets.

But what is Christmas without all these? Here’s a beautiful meditation on Jesus’ nativity from Pope Benedict XVI.

“In the birth of Jesus,
God comes to us and
asks us to receive
Him, so that He can
be born in our lives
and transform them,
and our world, by the
power of his love.

The
Christmas liturgy also
invites us to
contemplate Christ’s
birth against the
backdrop of his
paschal mystery.
Christmas points
beyond itself, to the
redemption won for
us on the Cross and
the glory of the
Resurrection.”

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Yeay, happy December friends.  December morning breeze. It’s cold outside.

Did you notice? WordPress has again activated the falling icicles in our posts.  It’s lovely, isn’t it?

I’ve been looking forward to December. I guess it’s actually the best month of the year,  a joyful season to celebrate and to bring joy to others too.  Trite as it may sound and no matter how commercialized the celebration of Christmas has become, it is still the best  season to share, to bond with families and friends  and to remember the sacrifice Jesus has made for mankind.  It’s the season of faith, the season of joy and the season of togetherness.

I remember some old Christmas past. Back in the province when we were younger, Christmas was celebrated solemnly, attending the midnight mass and having Noche Buena later. Although it was way, way different from how we celebrate it today, it was the best. Mom would prepare a simple Noche Buena meal  of pancit bihon, suman and hot chocolate. Dad would bring home lots of apples and quezo de bola and a big box of old clothes donated by the high school students of the university (UST) where he used to work and mom would distribute them to our neighbors. My uncle would cook binungey, a delicacy native to Pangasinan. It’s made of  malagkit (sticky rice) and coconut cream cooked in bamboo and is lined up over fire and charcoal.  I think that’s the best there is in cooking rice cakes. You just have to cut the bamboo in half to get the cooked malagkit inside.

A simple fare of binungey.

A simple fare of binungey.

Back then, we didn’t have exchange gifts at home  but Mom and dad would buy us simple toys to play with.  The grade school days were the same when Christmas comes near. We would find a robust tree outside and decorate it with hand-made paper strings, cut colored paper made into small parols and stars, candies  and occasional plastic decor brought by our teacher. Exchange gifts are of simple things like hand towels, bath soap, pencils  or box of candies. We were happy receiving gifts that way.

Nowadays, celebration of Christmas has become a  little  extravagant. Instead of simple gifts, we give gadgets, expensive toys, and the like. Gone are those days when a box of candies would suffice. Christmas wouldn’t be one without ham, pasta, meat recipes, sweets,cakes and what have you.

I hope we would always remember why we celebrate Christmas. I hope we would always remember the little child born on Christmas day.

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Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!  New Year in the Catholic liturgical calendar begins each year with  the season of Advent.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. We went to mass early and it was cold outside. There was this early morning breeze  while we walked  the distance from our house to the subdivision gate and from the tricycle terminal to the church.  Advent season which begins today and  ends on December 24  lets us  prepare ourselves to receive God’s gift of Jesus. It is a time of “getting ready” for the celebration of Christmas.

advent-wreath-editThe four candles represent  the four Sundays in preparation for  Christmas. The purple color has traditionally been the color symbolizing repentance and fasting.The first purple candle is the Candle of  Hope, the second one is the Candle of Preparation while the fourth purple candle is the Candle of Love. The third candle which is lighted on Gaudete Sunday is called the Candle of Joy. Pink is a joyful color.

November is coming to a close, gently folding its leaves to welcome the cold December days. Ah, the joys of waiting for Christmas! The joys of waiting for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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