Christmas Experience

If you would ask me, when was the most memorable Christmas?

It would be the BEST HEART CHANGING Christmas experience that I had. 

I was in Taiwan in the year 2008. This country does not celebrate Christmas. Everybody was working. It was lonely because I'm far from my family. On the same time, I was quite observant on how it is like to work on the 24th and on Christmas day. All I had to do was to have a merry little Christmas, the simplest. 

In spite of the loneliness and the weird feeling, I was blessed to have the HEART CHANGING Christmas experience before and after the 25th.

BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, held a Christmas party BEFORE the 25th. I was so eager to attend because I wanted to know how do they celebrate Christmas in a place where most of the people do not.

The announcement went on and they give instructions that each member or family should bring potluck. And they announced that the main dish would be a TURKEY. Oh my! I haven't eaten such an animal. :-) I was so excited.

I used my bike to buy "Peking Duck" for my potluck. My friends were kind enough to give me a ride to church. I arrived at church with silent. That surprised me. In Philippines, when we say it's Christmas party, it was never been quite. I don't know. Okay it was quite. I went upstairs at cultural hall. Everyone were seated in front the stage and according to rows. Organized. Silent. Children were reverent. The table for food was organized. (I'm sad I haven't got a picture because that time I can't afford to buy.) Their was a Christmas presentation from priesthood organization and relief society. The play was about a family who haven't gone to church and was having a financial struggle. They were visited by their friends from church. The relief society sisters brought food for them during Christmas. Everyone was emotional and I believed everyone felt the spirit of Christmas that time. I too personally felt the love of God that moment.

While the presentation is going on, their was waiters and waitresses (also members who volunteer) serving the food. So, the members seated will not stand to get food at the back. It was a good idea. Everyone were attentive to the presentation. When you want to add some more, it was the time each member will slowly go to the food display and ask for food.

I'm thankful for this experience. 
I will not forget for the rest of my life. 
After attending this party, I realized it is not about much fun, 
or much laughter and much dancing.
It is not about the food that we are going to eat. 
I realized Christmas is about a feeling in our heart 
about love towards family, friends and other people. 
Christmas is about a feeling towards the Lord Jesus Christ. 

AFTER CHRISTMAS

I was really appreciative that one of our client invited us for a lunch at their house for Christmas celebration. They too were busy at that time but the gesture is really appreciated.

Me and my two Filipino colleagues were invited to their house. It was lunch but we were early. When we arrived at their house, we were toured around the house. It was a two door apartment that they renovated into one house. I could hardly imagine it now but it was a nice house.

After that, lunch was almost ready, everyone prepares the table including us. We helped them. I was shy I don't know what else I should do. I was not close them or have special friendship. I feel it awkward. But then, the head of the family, our client, had the prayer and blessed the food. We had good and healthy food serve for everyone. And the main dish was a turkey also! (I don't know what's in the turkey that is so special. I maybe should try this for my family next year.) While having lunch, their were lots of laughing and chatting. I saw how happy their family was although of course their should be some problems among them but that moment was precious. I became sad in my heart. Oh how I desire to gather my family and do this kind of moment. Anyway, after lunch, everyone were taking their dishes at the kitchen sink. I saw another good attitudes from them. So, I also do the same. Then, they told us to go back and be seated. We had a small games. Maybe an icebreaker. I forgot what was that but the feeling I had before was good up until now. It was fun. I enjoyed it.

So, after we had this icebreaker, we were told to gather at the living room area, where their tall Christmas tree was. An introduction was made first about their Family Christmas Tradition. Every Christmas they do have lunch, game and exchange gift. They are five in their family. Each member of the family prepared a gift for each of the family member. They received 4 gifts each. The wife were the last to giving gifts. She gave her husband, and her children. Also, she did not forget us. We were also given a gifts. I was surprised and touched by this very scene!

I was not jumping with happiness. 
I was not even had so much laughter. 
It was a peaceful happiness in my heart.
After this experience, I have thought that Christmas it is not about 
who receive more and who receive the expensive one. 
Christmas is about our heart towards our family.
Our love and concern for them. 
It is about touching the lives of other people. 
Our lights to inspire them to see God through our example.

After this experience, I have in my heart a huge desire to follow their example and to have a heart that gives, a heart that love unceasingly, a heart that is forgiving and a heart that knows and understand. I have desired to gather my family as well and let them fell this kind of heart changing Christmas experience.

Merry Christmas to all!















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