Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. As soon as December kicks in, I feel the urge to crank up my old school Ray Conniff Christmas album – which immediately takes me back to the early 80’s. That was the time when my sisters and I would labor on our letters for Santa so our dad could “drop them off” at the post office.
That was also the time when my dad hid our Christmas stocking up on the roof to make us believe Santa actually left it there in the rush to leave before we arrived home from midnight mass. That was also the time we would run around the house with our mom chasing us while singing “Oh Tannenbaum”!
Those were glorious years and I don’t tire of remembering them. In those simple moments, we were truly blessed.
On this season when we think of family the most, it’s hard to imagine how those without family make it through. I often get too caught up with my own life and my own family that I forget to share the spirit of Christmas to those who need it the most – those who go through life without the love of family.
I felt deeply honored to have had an opportunity to share early Christmas with the lovely people of “Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Porres”, a residential compound in Bustos, Bulacan, committed to help street children, abandoned children, or victims of domestic abuse and child labor. In their simple but beautiful home, built through generous donations, these children are able to feel the semblance of family with their caretakers and other children who endure the same plight.
Seeing the children’s happy faces – as they sing and dance to popular tunes, play the parlor games we prepared, and enjoy the simple meal of fried chicken and pansit – takes me back to my childhood when all you need to be happy are some good tunes, silly games, and the people you love.
They say those who have so little often give the most. Their joy was a great gift – and I have been blessed to experience it.