December 26, 2009

A Christmas Gift

Mommy & Daddy

Tres Marias

My lovely family

I love us!

It couldn't have been a more perfect day.

Waking up that morning, I was reminded that it was Christmas eve. My heart grew a bit heavy remembering that I had not yet bought any gifts for my family. Exchanging gifts on Christmas eve is a tradition that still lives on in our family. I could not bear to face them tonight and tell them I have nothing for them. The blessing I was waiting for did not come in time. Not this year. With eyes still closed and hugging my pillow to my face as I laid in bed, I prayed silently asking the Lord to help me find the strength to carry on the day and still find a reason to celebrate, in spite of.

My sisters went last-minute shopping while I stayed home. I busied myself in helping out in the house, knowing inside that that was the least I could do for them. Evening came and the preparation for Noche Buena was at full swing. My sisters were too distracted wrapping gifts. I obliged and slaved away in the kitchen. Cutting and dicing and slicing away.

Then, at the prodding of my mom, my dad sat down in the kitchen to wrap Lumpiang Shanghai. My dad was up for the challenge, even donning his reading glasses (he needed them to see how to carefully peel off the sheets of lumpia wrappers). It was fun to see Mommy instructing Daddy and making sure he was doing it right. No doubt, I take after my mom on being a control freak, I mused. Every now and then, Daddy would be a show-off to Mommy, parading his neatly wrapped lumpiang shanghai one at a time, with Christmas songs from our desktop speakers booming in the background.

Then it dawned on me, that it was our first Christmas as a family after Daddy retired from being a seaman for more than thirty years. He's been with us for months now yet the adjustment has not been that smooth, both for him and for us. We are entering a new season in our lives. And we need to face it as a family. Together this time. It's as if we are given another chance to be a family, to make up for lost time, while we still can. That reason alone made this Noche Buena special.

So we dressed up (thanks to our bunso who wanted so much to wear her new purple dress!), took some pictures (no way are we going to dress up without the world knowing it!), and ate our simple feast together. Just the five of us. :)

The night was not to end without reading the Christmas story. We read Matthew 1-2, from Jesus' birth, the Visit of the Magi, up to the Escape to Egypt, emphasizing God's presence, protection and provision. And we claimed those in our family as we face the new year.

That night, the gift-giving was not the highlight after all. We've already received the best gift. The gift of family.

From our family to yours, a blessed and Christ-filled Christmas! It is our prayer that we will all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is Immanuel! :)


ebbie said...

aaawwww.... :)
i love the Tolentinos! :D

the midnight muser said...


Anonymous said...

Great story, miss you guys. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year :)

Kuya Ed Mabini.

the midnight muser said...

Kuya Ed!!!

Merry Christmas & a Blessed Happy New Year!

how are you? :)