Monday, December 26, 2005

Is it really Christmas?

Yesterday was Christmas day. Was it?

I am trying to find out the reason why it seemed so different this year. Have I become jaded and gotten used to the season?

I don't seem to be feeling the usual excitement that courses through my body and mind. The thrill that the season brings seemed gone. What happened?

I prepared my list of people I want to appreciate. I thought deeply about the best gift I could give to them (taking into consideration the price, the availability of the products, my time and the accesibility of the place). I bought the gifts. I wrapped them. Gave them a bit early than usual.

I received gifs. Thanked the giver and kept all the gifts in one area of my room. I planned to open them on Christmas eve. I did this a few years ago and I remember the feeling of excitement as I unwrapped each one. But this year, it was not the same. I loved the gifts I received . There were a few surprises. Yet it was different.

Early Saturday morning, on December 24, I left and went grocery shopping to buy the ingredients I needed for the Christmas food we were preparing. Back home, I gave instructions to our helper. I methodically opened tin cans of milk and fruit cocktail. I mixed all the ingredients and came up with a tasty (to me anyway) buko salad. We alse prepared the tuna spaghetti we wanted to make for that night ( a healthy choice!). There were other kinds of food in the refrigerator, ready for anyone who wants to wolf down a heavy dinner. Shopped, prepared, ate. All done. Usually, this gives me a certain satisfaction. Joyful that I was able to prepare something for the family. Truly, I was happy to have done all the things I have done. Yet, something is really different.

I am not sad. I am not feeling down. Yet I was not so very happy. When I try to think about it, I seem not to be feeling anything. I know that I loved the things I have done to celebrate the birth of our Christ. I gave gifts to people that I really want to appreaciate. I planned what food to eat.

What is the reason? Maybe I became distracted of the fact that I am assuming new and more responsibilities at the office? Maybe I was too busy with all the preparation that my heart forgot to relish the true meaning of the season? Maybe...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Prohibited on week-ends

It was back in November when I realized that both Christmas and New Year would fall on a Sunday. I didn't give it much thought.

A week before the "day," I am feeling the negative effect of this very nice timing. Why?

I lost two extra weekends for shopping. Imagine if it fell on a Tuesday. Or a Wednesday. Or any day except Saturday or Sunday. I would have gained an extra holiday. Celebrate the birth of Christ and the New Year on that additional day. And I could have done a lot during those two week-ends.

Week-ends are meant for last minute shopping and panic buying. I wrap my gifts on week-ends. I write my wishes and blessings on Christmas cards. I distribute my gifts to churchmates on Sundays. I do my grocery shopping for the noche buena on Saturdays. I sneak in side trips to the mall for people I've forgotten to buy a gift for. I need my week-end for all those tiny little things I do in order to prepare for the season of appreciation and thanksgiving.

What happens if my week-end is taken away from me? I rush. I feel harrassed. I frequent the malls every after working day so that I could buy a gift for my officemates or niece. I go to the tiangge a month before the event. I became less creative. I chose the same gift for everyone. I just list down the most important ones, hoping that I didn't miss a special someone. Subtract the nights I couldn't do my shopping because of parties in the office, reunions with college friends, baby shower on the side, events that are official in nature that I need to attend.

That's not a lot of time.

I vote that Christmas shouldn't fall on a week-end. For New Year as well.

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (