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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lighting the third candle of Advent

December 16th is the beginning of the Simbang Gabi which is literally translated as evening mass but is actually celebrated at dawn (starting at 4:00 am or 4:30 am). It is actually a 9 days novena before Christmas. I have never really completed a Simbang Gabi. There were times in my younger years when I would wake up real early to be able to attend one but I’m really a hard sleeper and I don’t usually wake up that early so I have been satisfied going to my regular noon mass. Sometimes I would tell myself though that I would like to complete the novena. When that would happen, I still don’t know. They say that if you really desire something that you’d take all steps to make sure you accomplish it. So I should really wake up early to be able to attend a dawn mass BUT I guess deep in my heart, I know that it doesn’t matter what time you come to Church the more important thing is you prepare your heart every time you are in it. I guess another thing that prevents me from attending a Simbang Gabi is because of the distractions. So many people go there to be with friends and sometimes they don’t really pay attention to the service and that could be very distracting so somehow the regular daily mass is still more attractive. Most people there really pay attention to the service and it is best to be one with them in prayer.

It is pretty much the same thing with the whole holiday season, so many are caught in the material aspect of things that they forget the real reason for the celebration. Such aspect for me creates chaos and often makes me ask why go through the whole process. Just who started the whole thing...And somehow I got the answer from this article from my email box...


This morning I heard a story on the radio of a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row afterrow of toys and everything else imaginable. And after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season timeof the year. Overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally the elevator doors opened and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed she couldn't take it anymore and stated, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot."

From the back of the car everyone heard a quiet calm voice respond, "Don't worry we already crucified him."

For the rest of the trip down the elevator it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. Don't forget this year to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be.
-- Author Unknown

Whoever the author was is right, we focused on the things that are not really important, on the rituals that go with the season and we forget what the whole celebration is all about...

So once again the light tells me to focus on what's important.


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