Love, Joy and What?

Peace is elusive. And when the bond keeping the “peace” is weak, this is what happens:

I’m glad the real peace we can have in our hearts is secured more than just by adhesive tape. It is from the Saviour in whom we commerate this season.

Merry Christmas everyone!

(*photo taken one night when we arrived home and our “PEACE” had fallen)

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I woke up this morning feeling cold. I pulled up the comforter to warm me up a bit. As I opened my eyes I was greeted with snowflakes softly tapping on our windowpane. It is December after all, and in two weeks it would be Christmas.

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view from our window

Today, my wife decided to decorate our home for the season. Yes, we were a little late decorating this year. We even skipped having a Christmas tree this time. Putting up a freshly cut tree had become a tradition in our home since we moved here in Iowa.

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our fireplace

As we hung up our holiday ornaments, and with snow continuing to fall outside, it is really “beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” just like the popular song goes. That also means that I need to shovel and clear the snow in our the driveway later. Rats! Though my son was excited to go outside and build his snow fort. One man’s misery is another one’s fantasy!

However even with the “holiday cheers” in our home, for some reason I cannot get off my mind the images of a place where I was, a little more than a week ago. A place of devastation (see previous post), where Christmas is the farthest thing you think of. And another familiar song is ringing in my head – “do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”

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(image from Manila Bulletin)

As I ponder on this, I was comforted with the thought that real Christmas is not about decorations and Christmas trees. It’s not about shopping and completing our list (wives, are you listening?). It’s not even about receiving gifts or exchanging gifts (good luck telling that to your kids!).

Christmas is commemorating the coming of the Son of God to this wretched planet (wars, calamities and all), to redeem our dying world. With that thought, we all can celebrate Christmas.

Season’s Tinsel and Glitter

When I was growing up in Manila, we did put up some decorations during Christmas. The ornaments were not much – a colorful parol that we hand-made (oftentimes as a school project) hanging outside the window, and a small Belen in the living room, but that was enough to spruce up the holiday mood. We don’t have a Christmas tree, not even a scraggly fake one, though sometimes we had “kumukuti-kutipap” lights. And I don’t mean lights being on and off due to the frequent power outages that we had then.

Now that I moved out of the country, it also became a tradition in our home here in Iowa to decorate for Christmas. This, I believe, decreases the pangs of homesickness for us, while in turn, creates wonderful memories for our children. We even have a real live Christmas tree inside our home that we get from a tree farm each year. And we don’t need to add fake snow, we have lots of the real one. Yes, too much (*sigh*) of the real one .

Here are some of our Christmas decor this year:

parol made of capiz (from the Philippines)

“Behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them.” Matthew 2:9

"PEACE" hanging in our fireplace mantel

“Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”

wreaths adorning the stairs

star lights on the window

“O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright.” (We Three Kings of Orient Are)

soft glow on the porch

dangling luminescence on a clear night

“It came upon a midnight clear.”

trimmings on our tree

silver bells, silver bells.....I mean......balls?

“O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!”

JOY

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come.”

crystal Nativity

It is easy to get lost in all the tinsel and glitter of the holidays. But let us not forget the real reason for the season.

the real reason

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Isaiah 9:6