In the Philippines, celebrating Christmas starts early. We joke that celebrating Christmas begins in the "Brrr" months— Septembrrr, Octobrrr, Novembrrr. Of course, the temperature doesn't fall below 75°F too often, so it's more of a mindset than reality. Here in the Philippines, we don't worry about offending people when saying, "Merry Christmas!" Most everyone celebrates Christmas with lots of activities.
This week we've enjoyed two Christmas parties, a baby dedication, and renewed fellowship with our Rainbow and Dumaguete City family. These are a few of our favorite things.
If you're familiar with popular Christmas music, you know the tune, maybe even the words, to the song, "These are a few of my favorite things." It mostly revolves around cold weather experiences.
Our favorite things in the Philippines aren't things but people. As mentioned in last week's post, most of the rest of the world values people over things, and events over tasks. This post is a simple reflection of that.
Our first party was at CCTC where I shared a Christmas message to the staff and students. We had lots of fun and food! A Filipino tradition is secret gift giving dance called Manita-Manito. It includes random styles of dancing and making people guess who will receive our gift. It is pure and simple fun! There were also songs, dancing, and skit performances, which are the usual fare for most Christmas parties.
The next day we had our annual Rainbow Christmas party for our children, girls, and staff and their families. It takes a lot of preparation, but it's well worth it. It's a high-point of our calendar.
We have a children's presentation of the Christmas story, games, songs, presentations, gift giving, and food. This year we were blessed with having Freddy, one of our Rainbow kids adopted several years ago, joining the festivities and sharing a song. Sponsored students also shared in the fun, along with the children, girls and staff.
This Sunday we were blessed to witness the dedication of the newest addition to one of our Rainbow families. After church, we enjoyed a celebration lunch with extended family. It was a full-packed weekend to start our time here in Dumaguete!
Although we miss our family in the US, we really enjoy all the people and events that are part of our Christmas celebration here. It's still like home to us after so many years.
May your Christmas celebration be filled and blessed with people and events celebrating the birth of Jesus. He is indeed, the Reason for the Season.