I made it through the year and I did not even collapse
Gotta say “Thank God for that.”
I’m torn between what keeps me whole and what tears me in half
I’ll fall apart or stay in tact
With tired eyes I stumble back to bed
I need to realize my sorry life’s not hanging by a thread
At least not yet
So look at me now
it’s finally Christmas and I’m home
Head indoors, to get out of this weather
And I don’t know how
But the closest friends I’ve ever known are all inside
Singing merry Christmas, here’s to many more
It always hurt to be all by myself this time of year
A cold and lonely Christmas Eve
And living out my days alone
Well that had been my deepest fear
But You promised You won’t leave
I look towards the east and see a star
Jesus Christ, has blessed my life to know just who You are
You are my hope
-Merry Christmas, Here’s to Many More by Relient K
“Merry Christmas”–a phrase that has gotten more and more bittersweet as years go by. It sure represents an amazing, wonderful day–the day our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born into our world as a baby in a manger. That thought has always been amazing. For him to come and be among us–there’s just no words to describe how awesome our God is. That alone is that sole reason for this season.
But why is it bittersweet? Well, that lies in the other Christmas-y things.
Since I was born in the Philippines and spent my childhood there, I am probably more attached to the Filipino side of Christmas. That side of Christmas involves traditions, lights, carols, food (lots and lots), parties, gifts, and most importantly, family. Filipinos definitely make a big deal out of Christmas. As soon as New Year’s Day passes, Filipinos already start looking forward to next Christmas as if it’s the best day of every year (and it sure is most of the time). We even start listening to Christmas songs and counting down the days as early as September (some even earlier). It’s overly commercialized more than it is revered as a holy day, yet it’s definitely fun. It’s the only day people never go on a diet, and the only day when having more than 10 meals is acceptable.
UAE never made a big deal out of Christmas–it’s not even a holiday so you have to go to work or school that day. So ever since I moved to the UAE, my view of Christmas changed. Since only the Christians celebrate it, I got to think more about the real reason for this season throughout my time there. We still do go to a few Christmas parties with family and friends yet it wasn’t the same as it would have been if we were in the Philippines. Still, making our own traditions in our family made it fun. We would buy each other Christmas gifts in the mall back then and give the gift as our Secret Santa. Then we’d eat Christmas ham and play board games or watch a movie. All you ever really need in Christmas is God and family, so as long as we were all together, it was fun.
Now I’m here in Korea and since Christmas is considered a holiday in Korea, we don’t have to go to school. Last year, I didn’t really do much and basically spent the day with my roommate who doesn’t really care about Christmas. So I didn’t really celebrate it as joyfully as I wanted, and now I don’t even remember what I did on that day. This Christmas, it’s definitely more fun. Since Christmas was on a Sunday, I went to church and had so much fun playing the song 하은, 수현, and I prepared for this day.
But before that, the Christmas play in church really stuck to me. It wasn’t the same old Christmas play where Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem and Jesus is born… The play started with the Creation. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And then the play proceeded to Adam and Eve sinning (that one was the funniest part of the entire show because Adam and Eve were both ahjusshis and their dialogue was hilarious). After Adam and Eve sinned, the play proceeded to tell about how people lived their lives under sin. Then it ended with Jesus being born and saving us from our sin.
Because of that play, I am again reminded about the REAL reason for this season. I think if I saw another Mary and Joseph play, it wouldn’t be very memorable, but since they started with the Creation and told the history of mankind, I am reminded that the birth of Jesus was only a part of the bigger story.
Yet, as I reflect on that when I got to my empty flat, I see people posting family photos and Noche Buena photos on Facebook everywhere, greeting everyone a “Merry Christmas!” Even my own family did the same thing! I also saw friends who went home for Christmas to be with their family. Everyone one looked so happy. I’ve never been more jealous of people putting up Christmas family photos. And I thought, even Jesus was with his family on Christmas!
But oh well. I guess there will be lonely times and there will be fun times. For now, I just want to sleep. Merry Christmas, here’s to many more!