The Giver and the Gift

People all over the world are celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. I admit presents are one of the things about Christmas that gives me the holiday cheer. I get a sense of fulfillment ticking off names of the people I’ve already bought gifts for. I love wrapping presents, distributing them, and of course receiving them! Haha!

Gifts

Gifts

As much as Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, it is also the busiest in my book. The malls are crowded, traffic is horrific, parties overlap, and everybody’s rushing to get their holiday shopping over and done with. It is a holiday that is not as leisurely as summer vacations nor as meditative as Holy Week. Christmas is crazy and wild with celebrations and get-togethers. Houses are filled with laughter and conversations with reunions happening simultaneously. It takes a lot of time, energy, and money to celebrate Christmas and it always goes by oh so fast.

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping

After the food is gone, the decors are down, and the parties are over, we all go back to our daily routines. We eventually realize that we never fully grasped Christmas and we hope that next year Christmas will go a little bit slower than usual so we can savor it longer. All the holiday hustle and bustle got me thinking on how I can slow things a bit this Christmas. Hence, this blog.

The nativity scene

The nativity scene

As I do my own reflection on Christmas, I am reminded that this holiday is festive and full of love only because of Christ. Take out His name and there’s no reason to celebrate Christ-mas. In reality, the birth of Christ was nothing but a joy-filled, stress-free event. In the most defining moment of mankind’s history, there were no parties nor people hurrying around shopping for gifts. When Christ was born, there was total peace yet there was a complete celebration in the hearts of those who witnessed it.

Christmas begins with Christ

I can only imagine the joy and awe that filled the heart of Joseph and Mary when they finally saw Him, their Son and Savior. What a great honor it must’ve been to be Jesus’ surrogate parents! Imagine being chosen to bear the next King of England or the next President of the United States. Just thinking about the huge responsibility and scrutiny that goes along with it makes me queasy. In addition, this soon-to-be prominent leader in your womb would surely receive the grandest and most high profile welcome from the world, televised 24/7.

Nativity Scene

Nativity Scene

But Jesus is different. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords born in a lowly stable. To even call it low profile would be an understatement. The nativity scene, which we now use as a perennial Christmas decor, was a simple gathering of people from all walks of life rejoicing in the presence of the perfect, blameless, pure, and most holy Newborn they’d ever seen. The shepherds and the Magi were overjoyed at the sight of Christ, praising and worshiping God for sending the Savior of the world. They already found the gift they’ve been looking and waiting for. The Giver and the Gift came with no trumpets resounding, no commotion, and no social media coverage. Yet His birth reached every corner of the world and is celebrated yearly for thousands of years.

Jesus in a manger

Jesus in a manger

In that humble manger, Jesus showed how accessible He was from the very start. No mediator needed, no VIP access, anyone can approach Him anytime. His birth was already an invitation for all of us. Later on, Jesus would show even more how accessible He is by initiating contact with people that are considered outcasts by society. He taught and fed multitudes. He healed the sick regardless if he’s a friend like Lazarus or a servant of a Roman soldier. Discrimination was never in Jesus’ vocabulary. He accepted all kinds of people. When He died on the cross to reconcile mankind to God, He did it for everyone. He knew that no one is sinless and no one will be good enough to reach God. Only a perfect holy sacrifice will suffice for a perfect holy God.

The Giver and the Gift

The Giver and the Gift

Christmas is not simply about Jesus the baby being born. It’s about Jesus the Savior opening His arms to all of us. In the same way, Christmas is also a good time for us to open our hearts to Him, to think about His abounding love, to thank Him for everything He has done for us, and to honor Him in our celebration of Christmas. Let us spend one unhurried moment with our Savior this Christmas, praising and thanking Him for being the reason for the season. Let us savor a moment with Jesus and celebrate His love by sharing His love not only today but also every single day He has blessed us with. πŸ™‚

Jesus

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An Open Letter to My Terrible Two

Dear Timmy,

Today you reach the age that most people call as “terrible two.” I couldn’t agree more. You gave a positive spin to being terrible, sweetheart. πŸ™‚ Each day you are becoming terribly smart, terribly funny, terribly sweet, terribly joyful, terribly sociable, and so much more! You’re being terribly cute is a bonus to your already terribly wonderful personality. πŸ™‚ See, you really embody everything positive about being a “terrible two.” πŸ™‚

My baby boy is now a toddler! :)

My baby boy is now a toddler!

Going into your second year is a fun ride for me and your dad. It’s a year of precious milestones. You started to walk when you’re a little over a year old, around one year and two months to be exact. Most of your Sunday School classmates in the toddlers room “outwalk” you but when you started walking you “outran” them. πŸ™‚ You’re not a runner, my little man. You’re a sprinter! You leave me and your daddy breathless, literally. πŸ™‚ You have this bouncy gait whenever you run. Sometimes you just run back and forth in our house. Whenever you see a big space, may it be a mall or a vacant lot, you squeal in delight and run without looking back. πŸ™‚ I sometimes call you Timmy the Explorer because you are just so curious about everything! You explore the stairs, sockets, gadgetsβ€”anything you can lay your hands on. I guess it would be fitting that I describe further the terrible things about you that I mentioned earlier so that when you get to read this someday you’ll know what you were like as a budding toddler. πŸ™‚

Timmy the Explorer

Timmy the Explorer!

You are terribly smart. You easily comprehend things. You’re already talking, by the way. πŸ™‚ Your first words are “dada” and “daddy.” You only say “mommy” when you’re crying or when you’re in distress. You can say “mama” casually, though. πŸ™‚ You say a lot of things now. You love to count! You love it so much you even count in your sleep! Hahaha! Your dad even used your love for counting to continuously brainwash you to love the NBA. You see, there are game highlights being ranked weekly. You love watching it because there are big numbers being shown before each highlight! Plus, the plays run for a few seconds only so it fits your short attention span perfectly. πŸ™‚

Timmy watching NBA highlights :)

Timmy watching NBA highlights

You can identify our immediate family, like your grandparents, titos, and titas. Aside from that, you can also identify the different parts of your face and body. You know your colors, too! You love the sensation of feeling things that are hot and cold. Every time I blow on your food, you will say that it’s hot. When you touch something cold, you immediately put your hands to your cheeks! You know the names of our family dogsβ€”Yogi, Tito Jc’s dog; Rocky, our dog who recently passed away; Snowy, mommy’s dog. You love dogs but we couldn’t get one because of your asthma. Someday, sweetheart. When you’re old enough to take care of one, we’ll find a hypoallergenic dog for you. πŸ™‚ Right now, you just might end up treating him like your toys, tossing and throwing it around. Besides, I don’t think mommy can take care of two boys (you and daddy) and a dogβ€”that will be I.N.S.A.N.E. πŸ™‚ You also hum and sing. You’re not much of a dancer, you don’t even groove. Your dance moves involve some jogging and skipping only. πŸ˜› However, you can easily pick up tunes and hum them back. πŸ™‚

Timmy loves animals! :)

Timmy loves animals!

You can identify animals, too! This is the reason why for your second birthday we brought you to Manila Ocean Park where you got to see thousands of fish, colorful birds, a couple of sea lions, and some penguins! You went wild screaming and running in the Oceanarium. You kept shouting “fishie!” πŸ™‚ Your dad even said you might end up losing your voice for the day but thankfully you had a lot of reserve. πŸ™‚ You still love books and it’s the staple thing we buy for you regularly next to food. Haha! You can entertain yourself just browsing through all your books. I particularly love it when you bring your books to me and ask me to read them to you. πŸ™‚ I can only imagine how much joy you’ll have when you get to read on your own. Oh, the places you’ll go, Timmy! πŸ™‚

Timmy enjoying Manila Ocean Park :)

Timmy enjoying Manila Ocean Park!

You are terribly funny. You have a knack for saying something random but fits just right to an ongoing conversation, making us wonder sometimes if you understand what we’re saying. πŸ™‚ You parrot certain words with precision just like when your daddy said, “Anak ng teteng” when the game he was watching was cut by a commercial. You immediately said the same thing with the same tone! Hilarious! When I said “gosh” one time, you kept repeating “gosh” after. You also love making funny and goofy faces. πŸ™‚ You can even make yourself cry for the sake of drama. You do it with tears streaming down your cheeks! Then you’d stop and do some goofy face again. Haha! You can walk like an old man which is really funny. πŸ™‚ You get jealous when daddy hugs mommy so what you will do is hug me or ask that you be carried or join the family hug. πŸ™‚ When we pray before meals, you always check on me and daddy (mostly daddy) if we already stopped what we were doing so we can pray. πŸ™‚ It’s both funny and heartwarming at the same time. πŸ™‚

Our funny baby :)

Our funny baby!

You are terribly sweet. πŸ™‚ You give random hugs and kisses to me. Sometimes you would even hold my face with both hands then kiss me with a sloppy wide-open-mouth kiss. πŸ™‚ Your daddy still has to ask you for a kiss. Haha! I think you know that you guys don’t normally do that. πŸ™‚ However, you don’t complain when daddy smothers you with kisses. You just don’t initiate that much with him. πŸ™‚ I get really “kilig” when you just hug me randomly and kiss me out of the blue. πŸ™‚ You still love sleeping on my chest although you don’t stay there that long anymore compared to when you were still a baby. πŸ™‚ A good 10 minutes is enough to put you in a deep sleep. You shifted the rest of the minutes snuggling on my side right under my armpit. πŸ˜›

Our sweet baby :)

Such a sweetheart

You are terribly joyful. You easily clap in appreciation and scream “Yehey!” when you see something you like. πŸ™‚ You are so easy to please. Any bottle with a cap or cover is a treat for you. You just love to open and close it. πŸ™‚ Any ball, regardless of size, makes you happy. πŸ™‚ That’s the NBA and daddy brainwashing working, right there. πŸ™‚ I must say you really are getting good at playing basketball. πŸ™‚ You already know how to dunk and make jumpers. Yes, jump shots, little MVP. πŸ™‚ You are now moving farther away from the ring and you really are making some shots! It’s really awesome to watch!!! πŸ™‚

Timmy is a happy toddler! :)

Timmy is a happy toddler!

You are terribly sociable. What a great improvement! From being extremely shy and afraid of people you now blow flying kisses to salesladies! πŸ™‚ It doesn’t take long for you to warm up now. πŸ™‚ You are still shy just like your dad but you’ve come so far that I have to say that you’ve become terribly sociable from a shy person’s standards. πŸ™‚

Our little trooper fighting the high fever.

Our little trooper fighting the high fever.

You are terribly strong. You are a trooper. We’ve had bouts with asthma about four times this year with each one lasting a week for you to recover. That didn’t stop you from having the energy to play and scream even if you’re on crib arrest. πŸ™‚Β  You also had a dengue scare but God in His mercy protected you from that sickness. In that small heart of yours is a fighter, Timmy. From the time you were bornβ€”two months early and two pounds heavyβ€”you know how to keep going. Jesus created a warrior in you. I really believe that. πŸ™‚

Merry Christmas! :)

Merry Christmas!

There are so many terribly good things about you, sweetheart. We are excited to see more of them this year. πŸ™‚ Happy happy birthday, my terrible two. We are beyond blessed to have you. We are humbled and privileged to be your parents. Whenever I see you, I am reminded that we have a good, loving, faithful, and gracious God. We love you so much, Timmy! πŸ™‚ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEETHEART!!!

Much love,

Mommy πŸ™‚