We are full of the joys of spring for it’s the most wonderful time of the year again! Have you lighted-up the Christmas tree, gave gifts or exchanged cards, yet? Well, you should not miss to have the time of your life before the year ends. We’re truly blessed to be given another chance to celebrate Christmas with our families, friends and other wonderful people around.
In Philippines, Filipino families attend a nine-day series of masses literally held when the rooster crows. The “Mass of the Rooster” is commonly known as Simbang Gabi and Misa de Gallo in Tagalog and in Spanish respectively. It is a devotional nine-day series of masses which starts from Dec 16 to 24. For Filipino people, it’s a traditional way of honouring Jesus Christ’s mother – the ever Blessed Virgin Mary.
Going West, Poland starts to celebrate Christmas on the night of Christmas Eve. On what they call Wigilia, Polish families have to spot the first star on the winter sky before they sit on Christmas tables and enjoy the delicious dinner. It is said that in almost Polish house you are bound to eat fried carp, a traditional dish during Wigilia.
And in Norway, julebord are pre-Christmas parties thrown by companies, organisations and groups of friends. During this period, restaurants and clubs are thronged with merry-making people.
Indeed, Christmas waves a magic wand. It engages the whole word in the conspiracy of love!
Always in our hearts
While some people ashore go to church and attend the mass, gather around the elaborately decorated Christmas tree, open their well-wrapped gifts or give warm hugs and kisses to their loved ones as the clock’s arm strikes right on time of The Saviour’s birth, we, your humble servants at sea would just probably look up high in the sky and search for that particularly bright star which led the “Three Wise Men” to Bethlehem. Once spotted, we close our eyes and try to imagine at least that we’re home. Yes, our home, where we used to portray Santa Claus to grant beloved one’s wishes, where everything is softer and more beautiful and where everyone is kind and understanding. There’s no happy place alike and we’re somehow sad to think that we’re far away from home this Christmas.
Nevertheless, we’re seafarers – strong men forged by rough seas and storm winds. Isolation and homesickness won’t make us down in the mouth. Whether the weather is good, or whether the weather is bad, crewmembers are celebrating. We are mindful of Charlotte Carpenter’s words; “He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.”
Celebration at sea
Maybe you’re all wondering how unsung heroes celebrate Christmas after a long and busy day?
We appreciate our colleagues at sea in making this year’s Christmas celebration a memorable one. Our dear managers have been kind, patience and proactive while the galley department, in particular, has never failed to prepare festive foods. In fact, adobong manok (chicken adobo) and lechon-baboy (rosted pig) became mouth-watering victual stars of the party and are crowd’s favourite to eat.
Gathered in one dining area, each crew says a prayer of thanksgiving, exchanges good wishes to each other, and shares his own funny Christmas story. Upon such enticing dinner, crews exchanged gifts to value well-established friendships tested by time. Our gifts serve as tokens of gratitude for being good “buddies” at work.
With regards to our families back home we give them time, the best gift of love we think we could offer. Even sailing across the seas and vast oceans of the world, they feel our earnest love by phone calls and electronic messages. It may not be a perfect Christmas but as we know it, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Share His Love
More or less, 2 billion Christians all over the world celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday every 25th of December.
Who wouldn’t love White Christmas anyway? As the great American composer Irving Berlin used to know, it’s where the tree tops glisten, and the children listen to hear sleigh bells of the snow!
At sea or ashore, we can actually celebrate Christmas with a profound reason.
Like for U.S. 30th President-elect Calvin Coolidge, Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind to cherish peace and goodwill and be plenteous in mercy.
On the other hand, entrepreneur J.C. Penny believes that Christmas is not just a time for festivity and merry making. It is more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving.
How about you?
Like Jesus, are you willing to give the light of unconditional love to those who need it most too?
From Lome, Togo I wish you a Merry Christmas and A Prosperous New Year!
May God bless your heart and mind; All through-out the year, believe that you can always be patient and kind. 🙂