While watching this dancing fountain at Al Majaz Waterfront, my heart keeps singing Kumukutikutitap by Ryan Cayabyab...

I realized, that this is my 7th Christmas away from home.

Wow! How did I survive?

- Just now, I called my dearest friend Erika and thanked her for being there for me through the years. I couldn't imagine surviving this long without my best friend beside me.

- The love for my family has always been my stronghold of my survival. I do not have to be there standing personally to express my love, and vice versa. Thinking of what's more important than the temporary happiness of being together in Noche Buena is more than enough to convince me to stay.

Besides, we can always re-create our own Christmas; I go home often than others; and every dinner served on our table whenever we are together is more than a Noche Buena feast.

- My church family is also there to fill up the empty space; home sickness cannot penetrate us as we have a whole congregation which is more than what we have in our own place. The WIN Sharjah family has always been there to give the love of a family not just on Christmas day but everyday.

- More importantly, my God strengthens me. I never feel alone because I know that "the Celebrant" is always beside me. Do I need to go home to greet Him on His special day?

Of course I miss the kids singing Christmas carols in front of our house, or the puto-bumbong and bibingka. I miss watching Christmas shows at the mall and plaza, and the family gatherings on Christmas day.

But these are just traditions; something that we can let go...

I have learned that wherever we are, there's always Christmas; as long as we know the real reason why we celebrate this special day.

No gift under the tree can compare to the Gift of Life given to us. Its not purchased on the biggest mall or covered with an expensive wrapper.

It was freely given to everyone. We do not have to travel back home to receive this gift; we just have to open our hearts and accept His gift of life.

JOHN 3:16-17
16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

A blessed Christmas to you my friend! 
May the love of Christ brings peace to you and your family.

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