Spending Christmas Away from Home

A lot of Filipinos working in different parts of the world always say that celebrating Christmas in the Philippines is happier and more fun. But despite living far away from our homeland, I do believe that the responsibility still falls on ourselves if we want to make our Christmas memorable.

Of course, being our family and loved ones is the most important of all that puts meaning in the holiday season. However, unlike some Filipinos who have immigrated with their families in the States, there are still a majority of Filipinos who came here by themselves not knowing anyone. I for one belong to the latter.

Finding friends that you can treat as a family and vice versa and spending time with them makes our Christmas a meaningful one. I do not mean mere ‘acquaintances’ or ‘friends’ that you have to stick with just because you have no one else to spend Christmas with.  But rather those circle of friends whom you can call your family, those whom you can depend on when you need help especially in emergencies, when you need to hear the truth, when you need a ride to the airport, when you are sick, etc.  Although it will not be a substitute as spending with our families back home, but perhaps close to it.

However, if you have children back home in the Philippines while you are by yourself working here, it is a little bit different. I admire those Filipinos who continue to persevere in order just to provide for a better future. Despite the yearning to be with their children at this time, the longing for their hugs and witnessing their lives unfold, I know no friends can take their place.  But then again, it is still a person’s choice to be working in a foreign land. A person can only make the best of it.  I do believe that wherever God puts you, you should ‘bloom’ and do your best despite your circumstances and sacrifices that you have to make.

I am fortunate that in the pursuit of my interests, I have found various groups of friends that I can call my family in the U.S. I am grateful that God has blessed me these friends.  All of these friends I have called my family are not old friends from Philippines but people I have only met for the past 6 years of my stay in the U.S. It is amazing how God had intertwined my life with their lives and how our friendships have grown through all these years.  It is an unbelievable blessing to be able to share my life with these friends.

As the writer Elizabeth  Gilbert said, “If life give you lemons, don’t settle for simply making lemonade- make a glorious scene at a lemonade stand.”

Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!