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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Keeping Christ in Christmas, I am trying...

"I’m participating in the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little SaintsTruly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”


I am excited to read the post of other participants in this blog carnival!!! How is it like for others?
As for me, every year is an attempt to bring Christ into my Christmas celebration, I hope, I move a little closer to Him and I bring our family a little closer to Him every time we celebrate His birthday. In all the hectic glitz and jingle the season brings, to make room for Jesus Christ is absolutely possible. To make Jesus Christ the center of it all is a struggle for me.

I did not grow up with Advent Prayers and candles for Christmas. I was married and in my early 20s when I found out there is such a thing as the Season of Advent and the priest was just not feeling festive thus the sudden pink in his outfit. I am Catholic all my life, so imagine my eyebrows meeting and my heart swelling when I learned of Advent while chatting with a friend!
I make sure my children know the Season of Advent not just Christmas Day. We come up with Advent Candles every year. I plan out our Christmas activities: decorating, gift wrapping, gift giving (thanks to my eldest daughter, we now have a family Christmas exchange gift tradition, 8 years on going now), deliveries, baking, parties, Christmas recitals, Christmas bazaar and family prayer time. This year is an extra challenge for our family prayer time, but we manage, despite our time difference and distance, thanks to skype.
Here we are with our Advent Candles right after praying the Angelus. Its 4 pm where I am with my
two younger children and its 8 am in London where my husband and 2 older children are.

When it comes to decorations I keep the theme simple- focus on the reason for the season/ the birthday boy! The Nativity is the highlight of our home. Decorating for Christmas is a family activity in our home. I saved up a lot of money by doing away with the elaborate Christmas tree and other Christmas decoration. Everybody in the house helps with the decorating (I hope my children remember this fondly, this year we did some painting. you can read about it here).
I keep the little baby Jesus of our Nativity until Christmas morning. When my children see that the baby Jesus is in the manger, it means we can open our gifts. We also put our gifts around the Nativity since we do not have a Christmas Tree.  

I wish that years from now, my children will remember the Christmas of their childhood joyfully laced with faith, love, generosity, trust, hope and truth. I hope that in my mundane efforts, I am able to relate Christmas with humility, generosity, of security in uncertain times, of provisions in times of need, of a helpless infant born in a filthy place who had/ has all the love to give, of a young woman  more than a thousand years ago, who said yes to a massage from an angel. Every year is struggle to make Jesus the center of all our merry making busyness. To have an open heart to adore a baby, who is Jesus Christ, who loves all including people I do not like.
 PS
One activity I also want to do for myself and with my family is to complete the 9 days of Simbang Gabi and finally, Misa de Gallo. As a child I thought is as an activity for old people simply because they can wake up early because they do not know how to party and they do not have school. I guess I am old now or getting there for sure. Oh will I get to do this next year? I would like to know who has done this and get some encouragement. How did you do it? Any tips and advise will be a Christmas Gift to me. Thank you for dropping by. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Here are the other blog posts, Enjoy:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Waaaaaaaahhhhh!!!

I have never known hectic so intimately as I did this last week of November and first week of December!
Waaaaaaaaahhhh!!! for:
  • How am I going to do this?
  • How can this be happening now?
  • What shall I do first?
  •  I never thought I could...
I prayed and vowed to make the most of our family being far apart. The fact is, I seem to have forgotten what its like to be with an 8 and 4 year old, but before I realized this, I had the following in my hands and I was certain I could manage:
+our home 
+ my schedule at The POD
+ bazaar,  Marco Polo, then DavCon.
A few days before my husband, A and As leave:
+ +one helper (our cook) needed to go home for her sick lolo,  Not planned but manageable still
As soon as I said goodbye to my husband, A and As at the airport ,
+++my mom gets admitted to the hospital !!! So straight from the airport, I went with L and Nh to Brokenshire Memorial Hospital. Totally unexpected!!!
 He so reminded me of Tiny Tim, walking with my moms cane while my mom was on a wheelchair! I had to take a picture.  I can't recall how many hours we spent in the hospital but when we got home I encouraged L to make poster to cheer my mom up and to keep her busy while I was on the phone with my younger sister.
While my mommy was in the hospital, L, with my permission and instigation, started playing Plants vs Zombies on the iPAD! This was my solution so that they will stay in the bed/couch while in the hospital. I can't believe I did this! She is also able to finish the game and watched the sunflower in concert! Waaaahhhhh! I am thinking of keeping the iPAD now!

Just before my mom's laser surgery I seriously thought I have reached the end of my rope! Waaaaaaaaaah!!!!! To keep things together for me, I set myself for some quiet time and tea, and look what I find inside the tea bag,
I am unlimited? 
Yeah okay I am!
More like I have to be! 
Thanks Yogi Tea, your little words always seem to get it right for me. My mom left the hospital 10 days after being admitted. Now, that my mom is out of the hospital, I am more than determined to make the most of the time I have alone with L and Nh. I am thinking now of how little attention (compared to what I gave with A and As at this age) I have given L and Nh when it comes to academic work. They seem to know a lot anyway. But as I said, I want to make the most.

L is doing geography now and it goes hand in hand with the cursive writing book I got her in Fully Book in Abreeza. I wonder now if I started this if As and A were here. We are using some old books that my husband used when he was a boy and of course, Geography Song Kit is back in action.
Nh is learning how to write numbers now. And count using his fingers. I have observed that after about 2 to 3 pages of writing and talking he tells me he is hungry so we close our work by counting with our fingers. This is something he resisted. I told him I need to check that his fingers are not paralyzed. Of course, I made it sound ultra important and serious enough for him to ask me, "what's that?" Waaaaaaaah! for him.
 Now I have to make room for Nh in the working table. Or should I have another working table?  He now knows how to return the pens, scissors and his workbook after working!

I am now in love with Lego. I never thought this will happen! Waaaaaaaaaah!
I never liked Lego even when I was a kid. I have a litany of reasons why I do not like Lego. I just decided to sit down with my dear son as I imagined he might be missing his dad when playing with the Lego bricks on the floor. Now here I am, controlling myself from heading to The Oak and Acorn to get some more Lego! Waaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!

We did some baking and Christmas gift wrapping too!!! With Nh this means scotch tape to the fullest and with L its all about the biggest bow and the longest ribbon. I pretended not to mind as she generously lace up her precious gift! Waaaaaaaahhhhh!
Things are sort of settling down for us now. So I like to believe that all my Waaaaaahhhh!!! will start becoming a mere memory. I learned a lot and I feel blessed that I am able to prioritize despite feeling very short. I am grateful that I have time alone with my 2 younger children and for the insights. I miss my 2 older ones and I can't help but wonder if life will be this sort of longing once they leave home. Waaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!
Praying every evening with L and Nh is such a joy. Its such a perfect way to end my day. No matter how hectic it was, how worried I was, or how late our day ended, their concerns and love, sincerity and trust that they offer in their little prayers makes me feel small and grand all at once. I am not sure how to explain that but it makes me not want to go Waaaaaaahhhhh!!!

Thank you dear reader for dropping by and have a good week ahead! And as my tea bag declared,
 "You are Unlimited."
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