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Christmas caroling, December 2008
They decorate the manger and make it as a real Bethlehem manger inside their house while others are preparing gifts for other activities and friends. Before Christmas Eve the “Simbang Gabi” or Dawn Mass takes place, a unique tradition of the Catholic faithful in the Philippines and considered an important activity together with the “Panuluyan” and the most popular Christmas caroling.
Last Christmas I had a chance to join in a Christmas caroling with the FJY. It was November when we started a very long but worthy preparation for this exciting activity. We spend one hour a day in the afternoon for the song practice. It lasted for almost one month. Since for so long I have an interest in music and particularly in singing, though I sing not so well, but I tried my best at that time. The Salvatorian brothers gave us an advice not to take too much cold drink so that we can preserve our voice and could perform well during the Christmas caroling. So at that time I started to drink the cold water less often. I seldom ate much sweet in order to perverse my voice ( hahaha…) we practiced many Christmas songs which are very common to us such as “ joy to the world”, “Santa clause is coming to town”, “oh come all ye faithful”, “we wish you a merry Christmas” and some other typical song for Christmas season. Simple but yet very unique are the Christmas cards we made. Really it was a joy for me at that time to share my little talent in art. These Christmas cards were made for those people we caroled.
Actually we had no idea about the people and the place where we were going to have our caroling. We were so surprised to know that we were going to have our caroling in some congregations in Tagaytay, Silang and Amadeo. I was so happy at that for it would be another chance for me to adventure to different places and meet different people.
December 2, 2008, exactly at 6 PM in the evening, the FATHER JORDAN YOUTH together with the some Salvatorian brothers and Father Hubert himself, left our place in talon and went for the caroling. We started the trip with a short prayer on the way to our first “Destination”, we were so exciting at that moment and we were looking forward in expecting the different places and congregations where we will perform our caroling. Even though it was a little bit uncomfortable for me to sit inside the car because we were overloaded, however being together with the others made me feel comfortable and enjoy. Firstly we visited the Usuline Sisters (I thought it was somewhere in Tagaytay). It was my first time to be there. They welcome us pleasantly and with joy they listen to our songs. After the caroling performance a sister proudly presented to us a big chest. I thought it could be a box which full of gifts for the caroler like us who were really curious what was inside that chest. But when she opened it, we were all amazed at what we saw inside the chest. There were cute little angels, each holding a matchstick. The sister explained for us the meaning of the match stick. It symbolized for their theme and to spread the fire of love. It was a nice and creative gift for us. Inside the chest there were many inspiring messages written on it. Before we left their place a sister gave to each one of us a match stick with a number written on it, this number represent a message from the big chest. I got number 17 and the message was “pray without ceasing”- a memorable message for me because I saw also this message in Father Jordan’s spiritual diary. Afterward we say goodbye to the sisters and they also exchanged with a warmth greeting (^_^)“Merry Christmas”…
For three nights we have been in many congregations for our Christmas caroling like in the CABURLOTTO, SISTER OF THE DEVINE SAVIOR in Buho, SISTER OF ST. ANTHONY in Claret and in THE SERVANTS OF THE PARACLETE in Tagaytay. We also went to our Amadeo parish church, to Bahay San Rafael and to some other places. Together with singing we also gave them the Christmas cards as a remembrance and simple gift. In return they gave us chocolate, candies and offered us delicious merianda. It was Christmas time so there is no reason not to accept their kind offer (he..he..he..). When we were in the Servant of the Paraclete house they are cooking something, after the cooking the brother sang a Christmas song for us. With joy, we watched them as they sang their song though we didn’t understand the lyrics (it was in different languages). we almost had a party there, they offered us delicious food. While others were singing, some were dancing in the beat of a joyful christmas song. We enjoy very much our short stay there .Although we still like to stay a little bit longer, however we have to go for we had still places to visit.
When we arrived in Banay banay there was a mass celebration. I did not expect that we were about to sing in front of many people right after the mass. It was a different kind of caroling with what we use to offer before. This time the caroling was not only for the sisters or the brothers of the congregation but for many people in the barangay. We were so happy because we brought the joy to them because we made a big number of people really happy by our simple caroling. After the merianda we had the chance to get to know and made friend with the children there.
We also had our caroling in some houses in our own barangay Talon on the following week. Our long practice and preparation was really worth because it was paid back by hand claps, praises and warm smiles from the people in the places we visited. Being with them for a short time brought me a happy feeling. I felt the spirit of giving and loving in me. I gained more friends and I wasn’t mistaken that this occasion would be a good experience for me because it was really beautiful. Christmas time is not a time only for making yourself happy but it is also the time to make others happy by sharing our love to them. For the FJY, it became our pleasure to give love to others, to make other smile by sharing with them our little talent through the simple caroling.