Christmas has always been my favorite holiday next to New Year’s Eve. Growing up, we were never the most affluent family nor did we have big family celebrations. It has always just been the four of us: my mom, my dad, and my little brother, Carl.
We were never one to have big presents under the tree (or have a Christmas tree for that matter) but even if we didn’t have what was considered a traditional Christmas, I would always have fond memories of the holidays.
My parents, in their own little way, have always ensured that there was food on the table and little exciting things to do on Christmas day.
There was one Christmas in particular where we just spent it in a mall watching Jolina Magdangal’s “Puso Ng Pasko.” My father is not the biggest fan of Filipino films and yet he endured that and SRO in the cinemas because my mom and I have always loved cheesy Filipino family movies.
It seems like a lifetime since then but my life’s fondest moments will always be linked with holidays in the Philippines and the simple ways we have made ourselves happy.
Growing up, I have always dreamt of grand places and seeing the world and while I am grateful to do so today, I am so thankful to have had those sweet moments with my parents and my brother to look back on.
They said that life is all about memories. They strengthen us as we traverse into new chapters in our lives. As JK Rowling once wrote, “love gives us protection forever.” And now, living away from home for the very first time, I understand this.
Having been loved as a child has given me the courage to travel into this new season of my life with confidence. To know that there is a home I can always come back to fuels the desire in me to build a life that my parents will be proud of. Love is what makes us do courageous things.
And while I am far away for my very first Christmas away from home, memories of Christmas past continually illuminate my heart. There is a longing in me and I wish I cherished the simple times more. But the fact that they remain in my heart, in my memory bank, makes me feel grateful that I have loved something so much that I miss it.
My parents have done a great job in creating a safe haven for me and my brother, though imperfect. They have equipped the two of us with what we need to go into the world.
My fond memories of my childhood has reminded me that the best gifts cannot be found under the tree but in spending time with the people we love.
As you grow older, the holidays become a source of both joy and sadness, and this holiday season while we all have a longing inside of us, I pray that you discover strength in the happy memories of your past and may it encourage you to look toward the future with hope.
God has great things in store for you and though we all love our memories, His best for us is still to come.
Merry Christmas, Pilipinas!