Maligayang Pasko, WIN Ontario!
There is no other time of the year that reminds us more of home than Christmas. Last Sunday’s message conveyed a very significant truth. Man’s deepest need is for relationship. The gaiety and joy that is so associated with the Christmas season is a reflection of our desire to belong – to a family, to a community. Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that God has set eternity in the human heart. Somehow there is in every human soul a God-given awareness that there is “something more” than this transient world. It leads us right to the heart of our existence, that this place we think of as home is just a temporary dwelling. This truth is distinctly pointed to us by St. Augustine of Hippo; “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.” (Augustine, Confessions (Book 1).
Our completeness is found only in the One who formed us and who pursues us with such deep compassion despite our depravities. Evidence to this was when God sent Jesus to fetch us and bring us back home. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16).
Christmas will then be a constant reminder for us all that there is a place we can always come home to and a Father who eagerly waits for us through the mediation of His very own Son Jesus.
The holiday festivities that follow the service are a celebration of a truly Filipino Christmas. For a few hours we were transported back to that special time of the year in our home country where we witness a display of various Christmas traditions. A bundle of young kids sang Christmas melodies in the likes of “Sa Maybahay”, happily humming the tunes as they walked around the sanctuary holding out their boxes to people in a delightful attempt to mimic those days of “karoling”. Celebrating Christmas in the Philippines always calls for a feast. And what a feast it was! Traditional Filipino foods like the “lechon” and “kakanin” were paraded around by brethren dressed in traditional Barong Tagalog and Filipiniana costumes as the tunes of “Pasko Na Naman” and “Noche Buena” played in the background. A native “parol” contest was also held with different life groups presenting their own styles of the famous Filipino symbol of the Star that the Three Kings followed through to Bethlehem.
This year’s WIMO Christmas celebration had indeed captured the very essence of the Filipino celebration of the season. It has fostered pride in our traditions as well as created among the younger generation an appreciation and understanding of our culture. Above all it gave us a renewed perspective of how it is to belong to God’s family. Maligayang Pasko!