“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu
The other day close to evening, the sky was overcast with dark, purple clouds threatening heavy rain. I didn’t exactly relish the thought of another rainy evening but my heart leapt with joy at the sight of a glimmer of light in the midst of the gloomy clouds.
“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” — Emil Brunner
“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C.S. Lewis
92 days to Christmas! I am sure many of us Filipinos as well as the rest of the world are having mixed emotions about the coming Christmas season. Can there still be Christmas, no doubt many are asking in their hearts — especially those who have lost loved ones, jobs, and livelihood.
True, we are living in such a most difficult, painful, stressful time, with the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating until a safe vaccine is found. Given this, despair and fear can easily take hold when sickness, death, and loss are around us.
Yet, amidst the gloom, it is heartwarming to hear of stories of sharing, caring, and helping one another. This indeed is the most meaningful preparation we can make for the coming Christmas. Opening our hearts and doors to others. Being more kind, understanding, and compassionate.
Christmas this year may be totally different from what we have been used to — but isn’t it time to celebrate Christmas in the way it is meant to be — without the trimmings?
To make this year’s Christmas more meaningful, especially in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, may we celebrate it with more love to share, with more humility to accept our circumstances. For after all, Jesus Himself was born in a stable rude, in the company of animals and a handful of poor shepherds.
I find the lyrics of this Christmas song for children simple yet so full of insightful reminder for us all. Each of us even in our littlest ways can do so much to light up the world around us and bring cheer to those who are suffering or in pain. Let each of us reflect the Light of Christ through our words and deeds, and maybe God will grant us the miracle we yearn for at this time – for COVID-19 to go away.
“Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was.” – Hebrew Proverb
Recently, my family commemorated the first anniversary of my father’s entry into eternal life. I still grieve at his passing and times when tears just well up in my eyes at the slightest thought of him.
Yet, at the same time, due to the raging pandemic, the pain seems to have been tempered by a sense of relief and gratefulness. Yes, it may seem selfish especially as I think of those who have suffered deaths in their families because of COVID-19. But to me and the rest of the family, it was a blessing in disguise that our parents had gone on when they did.
And as a tribute to my father on his first birthday in the afterlife, here I share another of Dad’s legacy to us his family and loved ones.
We grew up with Music at home, with different musical instruments: the violin which was Dad’s forte; harmonica, banduria, guitar, xylophone, and the organ. He even sent me and my sister to learn the piano in school from Grade 1 to Grade 3. But I grew tired of it.
Dad was blessed with a deep baritone voice so he also taught us to sing, even teaching us the Solfeggio and letting us sing one by one. Singing together was one of our family weekend activities. We older ones were members of our church choir with Dad as the choir Conductor.
The nuns in the convent where my sister belonged would even request him to sing the Exsultet (Easter Proclamation) during the Easter Vigil each year, which he faithfully did, until my parents moved far outside the metropolis.
Dad also had a large collection of long-playing albums of classical music, Ray Conniff Christmas albums, plus many other musical records which we’d play and listened to on the stereo every weekend (often with him singing along or playing the violin).
Later on, he inspired one of my sons to play the violin and the banduria. Picking up from my Dad, my son learned the organ as well. Now a father himself, he guides his own children in playing the violin and the piano. Such is my Dad’s legacy of music to us, so cherished in our hearts.
“Blessed be the Name of the LORD from this time on and for evermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, and His Glory above the heavens.” — Psalm 113:2-4
“He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills.” — Psalm 147:8
As Psalm 147:8 says that God put clouds in the heavens to make way for rain to water the earth and make the grass grow on the hills, so does He also allow difficulties and challenges to cloud our lives, not because He wants us to suffer. Rather, it is His loving way of preparing us for the rains of blessings to come and make us grow into the best person He wants us to be. To be the beautiful person we are meant to be, in and out.
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and rescues them from all troubles. The LORD is near the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all.
One recent morning, I spotted a lone pigeon on the rooftop of the building next to ours. I was so used to seeing almost every day a group of them, either resting or flying around in circles.
But today this little bird looked forlorn and sad and a bit confused. Where are they, my dear companions?
My heart filled with pity and wondered too about his usual companions. Have they been caught and served as a meal? And oh, why wouldn’t he fly away despite the soft rain? In the drizzle, he kept still, seemingly awaiting his friends. I waved my hands and opened, closed the window shutters in hope of catching his attention. Alas!
“The mighty one, GOD the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, GOD shines forth.” — Psalm 50:1-2
Purple sunset skies with a patch of bright golden orange forming like a halo over a tall unfinished structure. For almost six months, this building under construction went totally dark devoid of any activity. Thus, it gladdens me to see it springing back to life with lights on until curfew time because it means it is back to work for the building laborers who had lost their daily wages during the past months of more restricted community quarantine…
Today, on Mama Mary’s birthday, my copies of the printed version of the book on Moms — “To the First Woman Who Loved Me” — a book I co-authored with 40+ other authors and the eBook version of which we launched online on Mother’s Day last May, finally arrived. What a blessed coincidence
I just feel happy, motivated and grateful that God has granted me this opportunity to honor my Mom through a book article and for making one of my dreams come true.