Christmas Like No Other

Saturday, December 31, 2011 Nicajoice 2 Comments

Every Christmas is extraordinary for me. Even though I celebrate it with the same people, say family, every year holds a thing or two that would stand out in my memory. There is always something special. This year is quite exemplary. Main reason, because I'm away from my family and I don't have a bunch of friends to spend Christmas day with, but I still managed to feel the true essence of of the Yuletide Season. In the three masses I attended - on the early morning of 24th, before Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day - I was continuously reminded that Christmas is not just about the grandiose merriment we have grown accustomed to, not just the gifts, the food, or the decorations. It's about feeling Jesus' presence even in the rough spots of our lives - even in the aspect that didn't quite go right, or even when there seem to be more trials than blessings. Most of all, it is about giving - more and more about sharing what we have - treasures, talents, time.

Let me share with you a run-down of "My" Christmas 2011.

It started out at 4:30 in the morning (December 24th) at San Rafael Parish Church. It was the last day of Misa de Gallo and the church was as jampacked as ever. As customary, the mass was dedicated to a special intention. And for that day, it was for people who are undergoing pains and trials - so, basically it was intended for everyone, for who doesn't have burdens to carry in this world? The priest reminded all the parishioners that we may be at the darkest point of our lives but soon enough, the sun will rise and it will bathe us with its light. And as Christians that Light is Christ. Our ever constant companion in time of need. I don't remember everything that  the Priest had said but what I keep in my heart is the promise that in God's own time, He will help us achieve our dreams, we just have to wait and work on it. We just have to make it through the obstacles. It was a very hopeful morning.

5:45 am: I was back at home and slept again. :) Until 10:30 am.

10:30 am: Finished wrapping gifts.

In between 12 to 2 pm: stared at nothingness; finished reading Kikomachine Komiks "Sorrowful Sorrowful Mystery" and laughed like crazy all by myself; was feeling so sleepy so turned up the volume of my mp3 player, sang and danced (yes, danced - more like Aerobics actually) to Train's Shake Up Christmas and NSYNC's Merry Christmas Happy Holiday, songs I downloaded a day before to give the house a Christmas feel since its bare of any Christmas decoration.

2:30 pm: Decided that I need to move and prepare for my day's next agenda. :)

4:30 pm: I reached Sto. Domingo Church and spent time with my brother, Erick and friends, Junel and Ivy. All four of us decided to exchange gifts, so each brought a kind of gift appropriate for both males and females. It was really something so simple. But what I so appreciate about it is the fact that each of us was in a festive mood despite our own personal "challenges" in life. 


I also gave gifts to some friends and I was quite happy that the presents were appreciated :) Nothing beats warm "thank you" messages. Even if one said that he likes the pillow and its "irregular" shape. Oh, it didn't quite look like a STAR!!(??) haha

5:30 pm: We were off to Cafe Dominic the newest establishment inside Sto. Domingo compound for an unlimited coffee and cakes treat!! I had such a great time, drinking coffee and savoring three kinds of cakes and chatting and laughing with friends. 
7:00 pm: Witnessed and participated (for the first time) in the evening prayers of the Dominican brothers. The experience was very new to me. I believe, they do pray that way every day but for an outsider like me, it was quite grand. The singing, the reading of the Word of God, the bowing and kneeling... it was such a nice way of communicating with God. People who live near the church and who have the chance to witness it every night are so blessed. 

7:45 pm: Ivy and I headed home. We wanted to drop by the supermarket to buy food for Noche Buena (we were so craving for roasted chicken and pizza) but much to our dismay ALL stores were already closed. We were very upset and wondered why they had to close that early but we later realized that the store workers had to go home early too and celebrate Christmas with their families. With that thought, we were not as frustrated anymore and rather blamed ourselves for not buying the things we needed beforehand. Oh well, that wouldn't ruin our Christmas.

9:45 pm: We went out to attend mass at San Rafael Church. There were so many people so we had to stand for one hour and forty-five minutes. Yes, the mass was that long. All the while the song "Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel.." was playing in my head. It was indeed a night of rejoicing!

11:45 pm: The mass ended and we had nothing to eat. haha. Ivy and I prayed that there'd be some open restaurants in Mall of Asia. So we went there without knowing what was waiting for us, haha! And lo and behold! All stores were closed except McDonald's. So for the first time in my entire twenty-three years of existence, I was at McDonald's on Christmas Eve. And what was an "ordinary" food became very much special that night. And we thought, God was making us realize that Christmas is still Christmas even without ALL the things we got used to. Ivy and I were happy, what we had was more than enough and talking to our loved ones over the phone completed our most memorable Christmas ever!

12:30 am: We got home and Ivy started preparing for her trip back home. She was going to Davao at 5:45 that morning. She gathered her things while I talked to a friend over the phone until 3 am.

3:00 am: Ivy left for the airport. And I was left alone at home. I slept and stayed in bed until 1pm. :) Half of Christmas Day was over.

5:00 am: I went to Church and listened to the Sunday Mass.

What happened next is something I'd really want to share. But because I want you to wonder (and I'm bound to secrecy), I'd just keep it to myself. haha. But for the sake of sharing: I really thought it would be an uncomfortable situation for me, awkward! It was all I can think of. But then, I could hear Bridget Jones' voice inside my head - Inner Poise. Haha! So that's it. I just acted the way I normally act and tried to be as true to my personality as much as I could. And I actually had a lot of fun! No anxieties, no my-heart's-gonna-burst-out-of-my-chest feeling, no cold hands. And it just made the experience even better. :)

There, my Christmas like no other. ^^

How was your Christmas friends? I'd like to hear from you. :)


  1. i love the beauty of the churches back home. happy new year, nica!

  2. Yes.. we really have beautiful churches, even the small parishes possess beauty to boast of.. Happy New Year Andrea! All the best in 2012.. :) And thanks for dropping by ^^