This is the first Christmas that my family and I are spending away from home. I have a feeling that this won’t be the last, though it would definitely take some getting used to. We’re in Vientiane, Laos, and earlier, we joined the staff of the Philippine Embassy here in their Christmas party. As my family gathered around a table, I realized how blessed we are that we are together and even able to visit my brother-in-law, who happens to be one of the two vice consuls representing our country in Laos. Many of the Filipinos here live by themselves, either unable to go home or bring their families here with them.
It also shamed me to realize that I have come to view Christmas as a tradition, instead of a special day to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. No, it isn’t right that we would only celebrate Christmas for the children’s sake, so they won’t forget about the tradition. Christmas is all about Jesus, how He came into the world, so we could have eternal life. It’s supposed to be a happy celebration, one that must be celebrated every day, actually, but this one’s supposed to be the grandest.
As we drove around the town this morning, I noticed that there were a few establishments that had put up some Christmas decors. I was later told that they were the ones owned by European entrepreneurs, especially French. Interestingly, the Laotians that we have met were familiar with Christmas, and they were even the first ones to greet us Merry Christmas! Sadly though, they use Christmas (and Holy Week) as an excuse to drink with friends all night long and not go to work.
At home, where we are currently staying for the duration of our vacation here in Laos, the Christmas cheer isn’t deeply felt either, despite the fact that we are a Christian family. We skipped the traditional Noche Buena and gift giving ceremony. Maybe because everybody’s tired; after all, we did a lot of sightseeing today.
As much as I am happy to be spending Christmas with my husband and daughters outside the country, I miss my own parents and siblings. This is the first Christmas that I am not seeing them both ever again (here on Earth). For the past couple of years, my family has been hosting the Christmas dinner, and that’s one family tradition that I had initiated. I could only hope and pray that my brothers and sisters are doing well, feeling the spirit of Christmas, thanking Jesus not only for the everyday blessings that we enjoy, but most especially for coming to this world to be our LORD and Savior.
There are so many things that I am thankful for. What I am most thankful for now, however, is having my own family with me, being able to celebrate Christmas with them. ❤
(Featured image from StockSnap)