Warmth

While rummaging through the pile of books stacked in my room, I chanced upon an old songbook. I brushed off the dust and opened its worn out pages and saw chord sheets for a guitar. Without delay, I took out my guitar and started to play all the familiar songs I could find. Old, time-tested classics I played over and over again. As I flipped the pages through this ancient book, I came upon a most familar piece, well-loved by yours truly since he was a child.

One, two, three and!:

“Pasko na naman o kay tulin ng araw! Paskong nagdaan tila ba kung kailan lang!”

Yes, I love this song. For as long as I can remember, no Christmas passes by without me singing, much less humming this song on the way to Church to attend the Dawn Mass on a crisp, cold December morning.

“Ngayon ay Pasko tayo ay magmahalan, ngayon ay Pasko tayo ay nag-awitan!”

As I played and sung, I slowly remembered feeling the spirit of Christmas. For a brief moment, I felt the warmth of hugs and kisses from Lolo and Lola when they visited us for our family reunion. The smiles, the love, the laughter… The Grinch couldn’t stop this Christmas of mine!

“Pasko, Pasko! Pasko na naman muli, tanging araw nating pinakamimithi! Pasko, Pasko! Pasko na naman muli, ang pag-ibig naghahari!”

Christmas in the middle of the year? Even I am baffled by my own naivety. I love spending Christmas with those whom I love. But as the saying goes, “you never know how much you’ve loved something until you lose it.” I haven’t realized until now how much I miss the Yuletide Season. With all the crazy things going on twenty-four seven, a minute of peace shall soothe the weary soul.

“Bagong taon ay magbagong-buhay, nang lumigaya ang ating bayan! Tayo’y magsikap upang makamtan natin ang kasaganahan!”

The steady beat of my throbbing guitar continued with its prayer. A song is like a prayer, is it not? Whenever we sing, we talk to something, to someone out there. It could be a special person; it could be Him, or it could be a distant reminiscence of seasons past. The child in me never left after all. He was here all along, watching, waiting for me to remember.

“Tayo ay magsiawit, habang ang mundo’y tahimik, ng magagandang himig, ng sanggol na dulot ng langit! Tayo ay magmahalan, ating sundin ang gintong aral…”

I sang this song in front of Mother. A smile arched over her lips, a genuine, affectionate, motherly smile. I had made her happy. Somehow, in this mixed-up, confusing world, the universe conspired and I remembered, and she remembered too: how beautiful the world is, how lovely are its people, how is rich is it with life!

“At, magbuhat ngayon, kahit hindi Pasko ay magbigayan!”

And my song ended with a few final strokes. But it didn’t end. It only began again, snugly cradling this frozen heart of mine.

“Christmas isn’t a date. It’s really just a state of mind. ” -Mary Ellen Chase

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