16 December 2010

9 days to Christmas!


Today is the start of the Simbang Gabi (Night Masses) or more commonly known as "dawn masses" which is a 9-day novena mass leading to Christmas. In my place there is a night mass at 9PM and a dawn mass at 3AM. People at both masses were mostly sleepy but most of them have the urge to complete the 9 masses at least once in their lives. I completed that tradition several times (once I had to drive from work and attend mass alone and remembered how I drove slowly back home with the car's window all misted up!) For years, the parish priest in our subdivision would turn these masses into celebrations of charity as a fitting tribute to what Christmas is all about which is the birth of a poor homeless Christ! So for the 9 dawn masses people brought the following: 1st day: toothbrush/toothpaste, 2nd day: bath soaps, 3rd: towels, 4th: 18 tetra pack juices, 5th: 19 laundry soaps, 6th: 20 instant noodles, 7th: 21 shampoo sachets, 8th: 22 sachets of coffee, sugar, chocolates, 9th: 23 assorted clothings (shirts, shorts, etc.) These items are bundled up in a bag and on Christmas day will be given to prisoners and poor families. Imagine a hundred people donating all these items and the hundred "homeless Christ" receiving them! This is really what Christmas means to me and my family. It is the season of giving. Of sharing what you have, of providing a shelter or a piece of your home to the homeless and the needy, of the need to be together as a family and as a community. Amidst the feverish shopping and the glitter of what Christmas has become, I am glad I have never lost touch of Yule . . .

My sepia shot of the church angels calling the flock to mass for Mary's Sepia Scene. And here are my questions for Self Sagacity's Thursday Two Questions: (1) What Christmas traditions do you observe in your home or community? And (2) What Christmas traditions do you want to add or subtract in your life?

10 comments:

Lui said...

And my own answers to my Qs:

1. Dawn Masses, Nativity, Christmas caroling, community and family gatherings.

2. I have long ago removed contrived gift-giving and instead advocated for 'practical gifts' and I look forward to having a fireworks-free holiday.

Jidhu Jose said...

ice sepia

Cathy Kennedy said...

We keep to many of the traditional Christmas activities still -- stockings, cookie baking, candy making, Christmas Eve dinner, family gatherings, etc.

At this time, I really can't think of a single thing I'd like to add or take away from our Christmas traditions.

Tufa Girl said...

What a lovely tradition your priest has created. I like Cathy (above) do the stockings, baking, family thing. Seems like your tradition is more with the season in mind.

Margaret Duarte said...

1. Christmas morning is a beautiful time, with the whole family sitting around the Christmas sharing presents. I have filmed this tradition each year for 20 years, recording the changes in us as we've aged, those that were there and are no longer, those who weren't there and are now, the smiles, the laughter, the teasing. Soooo special.

Afterwards a breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns,etc. Then some rest before Christmas dinner.

2.I want to bring the spiritual back into Christmas that I was raised with as a child. I'm working on that.

Self Sagacity said...

1) I love when I see my kids all bundle up together on Christmas day. They open presents and look so happy. This is the joyous moment of all the Christmas dealings.
2) I don't like when people get so rude and in a hurry like no one else lives on earth but themselves.

Anki said...

Thank you for visiting my side. You ask me of the sepia wheels.I am not good at English, so you get Googles translation.
Once, before 1950 in Finland, we, who lived in countyside, hade carts with such wheels, now they are curiosities, and I remember my childhood, and my grandfather, when I see them.

JamericanSpice said...

1 . We have Christmas parade in our community and it's quite fun for the whole family. Sadly I missed the one this year.

2. A tradition I'd love to have in my family is finding a family and adopting them for the holidays, every holiday.

Ashley Sisk said...

Great questions...we normally attend our annual Christmas Program (we missed it this year). In the future, we look forward to spending Christmas at home. Hope you have a great weekend.

DoanLegacy said...

In our home, we gather around to eat, go to church, and come back to eat again..Lots of eating..LOL!

I would like to see big decoration scale down!

Happy Holidays!