Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Novena for Christ-Mass: The Vigil

While you are reading this, I am (probably) aboard a Korean Air jetliner (regrettably, in coach), on a connected flight from Inchon International Airport in Seoul, Republic of Korea, to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila, having departed from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, DC, some (entirely too many) hours earlier.

That's right, dear minions, it's my first trip away from North America* to, you guessed it, the "Land of the Morning," the Philippine Islands. I will meet the oldest and middle daughter of my beloved Celia for the first time. Most important, I will meet the children of the middle daughter, seven-year-old Luic, and almost-five-year-old Scarlett. They already call me "Lolo" (which is Tagalong for "Grandpa"). This may be of special interest to a certain portion of my audience. You see, according to my analytics, my second largest audience (second only to the United States) is in the Philippines.

Celia decided that I was finally worthy, and that it was time for me to see how Christmas is truly celebrated. You see, according to her, Americans really don't know how, not even Catholics ... yes, not even traditional Latin-Mass-or-die Catholics.

She's probably right. And so, for this year, I looked for a video that captured the true spirit of those who shout "Maligayang Pasko" (literally "Joyful Christmas") to friends and loved ones. Every year, the nation's largest television network, ABS-CBN "The Kapamilya Network") does a Christmas station ID. ("Kapamilia" roughly translates as "member of the family.") I wanted something that showed more than the usual lineup of celebrities half of whom with artificially lightened skin and decidedly Caucasian nose jobs all together singing "Star ng Pasko" ("Star of Christmas"). Thankfully, I found their release from ten years ago, opening with a little boy from the barrio reveling in stringing colorful starry lanterns together.

As for me and my experience, attempts will be made to provide brief daily reports (thirteen hours ahead of American Eastern Standard Time), no small task when every moment of my vacation has been scrupulously planned. Stay tuned.

"The lesson is: divinity is always where you least expect to find it. So the Son of God made man is invited to enter into his own world through a back door."

- Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)

This entire series can be found at the "xmasnovena2019” tag.

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* This is not counting twenty years ago, when I left the United States for Canada, and only because Windsor, Ontario, was right across the lake from Detroit, Michigan, and I only needed a driver's license in those days to go across the border for dinner. Interesting place, this Canada. It looks exactly like the United States, except in an alternate universe ... eh?

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