Tag Archives: Jesus

Christmas Cake

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m finally on vacation, but I still have some things to do which I don’t really know how to do. Er. Anyway, I hope I still have some time later, after this entry.

Yesterday afternoon, after knowing that I don’t have to go to work today, I headed out to Sugarhouse in Eastwood to get some cake for Christmas. Ever since 2006, I’ve always tried to have some cake during Christmas. Not because it’s a noche buena tradition (our noche buena tradition ever since year 2000 was a KFC bucket meal. We cook more during media noche), but because Christmas is not just gift-giving or eating, but a birthday. We are celebrating Christmas because of Jesus’ birthday, after all.

Everyone’s celebrating for Christmas, but I often wonder if people knew why we are celebrating. I always say “Remember the reason for the season” every year, but I know most of the time I’m excited about receiving and giving gifts to other people. I know He likes the idea of sharing and blessing us all during this time of the year, but I also think He deserves more than the limited attention I give Him during the nine consecutive masses of Simbang Gabi and the Christmas mass, right?

So this year, we have another cake. :) As we had for the past two years. :)

I’m still thinking of what Christmas entry I would be writing for tonight, and I was really planning to have a Christmas story to at least jumpstart my 2009 resolution of more writing. I managed to write a short piece which ended up a bit romantic, and I don’t even know if it’s appropriate. Anyway, I’m still sharing it to everyone just because. It’s not edited, so pardon any mistakes. My prose is still awkward even after NaNoWriMo, ergh.

To those who knew about my NaNo 2008 novel, you’d find some of the characters here familiar. Slight spoilers on how everyone would end up after story ends, but then again, I haven’t even finished the novel yet, so things can still change.

Have a blessed Christmas Eve everyone! Enjoy! :)

Continue reading Christmas Cake


This week has got to be the most book-filled week. I think I finished four books this week, and not all of them were short. Wow. Talk about enthusiastic reading.

But that is what happens to me when I take away one thing that has become more or less an essential to me every night and day – my computer and the Internet (okay, so they’re two things). And although I have successfully avoided them last year (I don’t know how I did that, really), this year proved to be a bit more difficult. Not only in this particular fast, but also in the other fast. Let’s see how I fared this Lent:

  • The first fast I told myself I’d be doing this year was the 40 days of prayer and fasting…which I failed miserably. Last year I did the seven days of prayer and fasting, which I was kind of successful in doing. This year was just…hard. Every Friday of the fast, I’d end up eating too much. I didn’t even mentally prepare for the fast. And come Holy Week, I had it in my mind to really fast…but then the Holy Week started with my birthday! Ack.
  • The next, which was what I mentioned earlier, was the no computer and Internet fast. I almost made it…but not without me going online for an hour each on Thursday and Friday, and finally breaking the fast yesterday. How about that for conviction. :( I bet even taking away my laptop wouldn’t help; I probably would’ve just stolen some online time from my dad’s or from some laptop rental out there. :(
  • And to top it all off, I didn’t get to confess this Lent. :(

So conviction and fasting wise, I had a pretty crummy Lent. I did manage to stay away from meat every Friday…but it doesn’t feel like it’s a worthy offering, you know?

I’m sorry Lord.

I know I shouldn’t be too hard on myself with that, but I just feel like I took away some of the gifts that I planned to give to someone special. Or that I broke a promise to someone and although he says it’s okay, I can’t help but feel guilty.

Or like Peter, who promised that he would never turn his back on Jesus, but denied Him not once, but three times, a few hours later. How’s that for conviction.

There’s one book I’ve always loved reading and going back to especially during Holy Week: Max Lucado’s No Wonder They Called Him the Savior. Here’s the particular part that always makes my eyes fill with tears:

Look in Mark, chapter 16. Read the first five verses about the women’s surprise when they find the stone moved to the side. Then feast on that beautiful phrase spoken by the angel, “He is not here, he is risen,” but don’t pause for too long. Go a bit further…the verse reads like this: … “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.”

…If I might paraphrase the words, “Don’t stay here, go tell the disciples,” a pause, then a smile, “and especially Peter, that he is going before you to Galilee.”

What a line. It’s as if all of heaven had watched Peter fall — and it’s as if all of heaven wanted to help him back up again. “Be sure to tell Peter that he’s not left out. Tell him that one failure doesn’t make a flop.”

pp 93-94, No Wonder They Called Him the Savior by Max Lucado

St. Peter is one of my favorite saints (together with St. Paul). His stubbornness (“No, you won’t wash my feet!”) and his short temper (he cut off an ear!) were definitely his flaws, but I can’t get over his intense devotion that made him say those words, “Even though all the others fall away, I will not.” (Mark 14:29) I’d like to believe that Jesus gave him a rueful smile before he foretold of his denial, to which Peter stubbornly insisted, “Though I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” (Mark 14:31)

I see myself in that moment, especially in the past Lent. As much as I’d like to be John, who stuck by Jesus’ side all through out, I think I was more of Peter, who promised such and such to Jesus, but didn’t follow through. And I knew Jesus knew that would happen to me this year, just like He knew Peter would deny him.

I’m not saying that what I failed to do in the last few weeks was excusable, that I shouldn’t do it again next time since I failed this year and still God loves me anyway. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t bother to fast or confess next time. That’s not the point. The thing is, even in my lack of faith, in my lack of willpower, God still grants me the grace and forgives me. Jesus knows that this would happen, and yet He forgives me. And although I know God appreciates that I promise to try harder next time, He’s asking me to accept the grace He is offering. Because He wants me — as in the WHOLE me — more than He wants any of my sacrifices, just as how He wanted Peter more than His promise of sticking by Him. :)

It sounds a bit absurd in some ways, I know, but what’s faith if you’re certain about everything?

As we start on this Easter season today, I leave you with a quote I got from one of the books I finished reading this weekend:

Easter cannot exist for you and for me without a deep willingness to embrace the mystery of love at its most fundamental: he who was dead now lives; I who was lost am found. I don’t ever pretend to understand that. Even that willingness is a gift…His death paid for my sin; his Resurrection opened the door for me to new life.
– p. 264, May Crowning, Mass and Merton: 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic by Liz Kelly

Happy Easter, everyone. :)

Celebrate the Day

In connection to yesterday’s post…here’s another song that I shall leave you guys with as Christmas Eve turns into Christmas Day. :) Much thanks to Gab for recommending this song (as I have it in Triskal for the longest time but never really took the time to listen to it)! :)


I Celebrate the Day
Relient K

With this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know
How much You’ve touched my life because
Here is where You’re finding me
In the exact same place as New Year’s Eve
And from the lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I wanna be

And the first time that You opened Your eyes
Did you realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did you know that it would change this world forever

And the first time that You opened your eyes
Did you realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I’ll compare
The things I’ve felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back
And think that
This baby would one day save me
And the hope that
That You give
That You were born so I might really live
To look back
And think that
This baby would one day save me…

And I
I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day
Pray for You to save my life

Pray for You to save my life
Pray for You to save my life

Happy birthday, dear Jesus! ♥ Merry Christmas to everyone! Have a blessed time with your loved ones. :)

A Christmas Tale

A year ago, my friend Chris sent me a Christmas email with a challenge, and we had a pretty interesting conversation about it. Then I told him I’d blog about it that year, but I never did, so here’s the one year overdue entry about what we talked about.

Interestingly, when we talk about the Christmas story, it usually ends with Jesus lying down on the manger, with the shepherds visiting him and then followed by the three wise men. After that, the Christmas story is “finished”, and we hardly even talk about why He came. What’s the real reason why He was born that night, to those parents, on that place? Why the angels sang and why the shepherds came and why the three wise men came to visit and bring him gifts. Yes, sure, they did all that because Jesus is God’s son, but again, why did Jesus come down here in the first place?

The answers to those questions do not really come until the Lenten season, where the real reason of God becoming man becomes clear (supposedly). It’s nice to remember those things during Easter, yes, and I remember saying that Easter is where the juicier story really is. Because that’s where the entire salvation history is shown, where God’s forgiveness can be really seen, and His power is demonstrated in its fullness.

Then I remember my usual greeting every Christmas: may we always remember the reason for the season. Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, but why? What is so special about it, besides Him being the son of God? What is the real reason, anyway?

Chris’ email challenged me to remember that the story of Christmas does not end where we always end the story during Christmas. In fact, the Christmas story is just the start. Christmas is where God’s sacrifice started, by His sending His only son to a world laden with sin, to save the people who barely acknowledge Him. Unlike other people who are born to this earth to live, Jesus was born to die. For you. For me. For us.

Christmas is the start of His journey to save us, Jesus’ journey to the Cross. This where God gave us a concrete and human sign of His love. That is where the Christmas season gets its beauty, its magic.

This Christmas, let us remember and keep in our hearts the REAL reason for the season. :)

I leave you with a song that I finally made sense of during the email exchange with my friend. :) Enjoy and have a blessed Christmas Eve. :)

Continue reading A Christmas Tale

Eggs and Bunnies on Easter

Will asked something about the relationship of eggs and bunnies on a Christian holiday, Easter, which celebrates Christ’s resurrection. I never really thought about it, really. I have to admit that I’ve participated in Easter Egg Hunts (not winning anything, though) but I’ve never had an Easter chocolate bunny (is it really that good?).

Thinking about it now…what does eggs and bunnies have in connection with Jesus’ resurrection? Did bunnies show up when he got out of the grave? Was their main course eggs? Why?!

Okay, I’m exaggerating. Anyway, I looked up some information regarding this on one of my favorite Catholic resource websites, LifeTeen.com ((If you want to learn more about the Catholic faith, visit this site! They have easy to understand articles and answers to basic questions a Catholic or a non-believer (I think) would ask.)) and found exactly what I needed. Click on the link to read Mark Hart’s very interesting analogy with all these “symbols” in Easter and Jesus’ rising from the dead. :) Enjoy and be blessed. :)

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Easter Sunday

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.

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Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (Anne Rice)

Rating: [rate 4.5]

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

With the Holy Land in turmoil, seven-year-old Jesus and his family leave Egypt for the dangerous road home to Jerusalem. As they travel, the boy tries to unlock the secret of his birth and comprehend his terrifying power to work miracles. Anne Rice’s dazzling, kaleidoscopic novel, based on the gospels and the most respected New Testament scholarship, summons up the voice, the presence, and the words of Jesus, allowing hi to tell his own story as he struggles to grasp the holy purpose of his life.

Reading this book reminds me of one Brian Littrell song, Wish:

For just a moment, I wish I could have been there
To see Your first step, hear Your very first word
Tell me, did You ever fall and scrape Your knee?
Did You know that Your wounds would one day heal the world?

For just one moment I wish I could have seen You growing
Learn in the ways of a carpenter’s son
Just a little boy, gazing at the stars
Did You remember creating everyone?

If You pass by, would I see the Child or the King?
Would I have known?

It’s funny that I got this book around Christmas, which should have been the perfect book to read then. But during that time, I was reading A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers, and Mary’s story there was more perfect for Christmas since it talks about Christ’s birth. This book focuses more on Jesus’ childhood, the year where he was seven almost eight.

Continue reading Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (Anne Rice)

MUfHH: Are You Ready to Be Offered?

My Utmost for His Highest (abbreviated to MUfHH by yours truly) by Oswald Chambers is one of the devotionals I read every morning during my prayer time. I love it how Mr. Chambers (or as I like to call him, Pareng Oswald ;p) can be so profound and direct at the same time. Sometimes his reflections can be a bit deep and most of the times they pierce straight into the heart and soul, but they are great insights nonetheless.

Anyway, from time to time, I’d be sharing some of the reflections that can be found in this book in this blog because the messages I got there are just too valuable not to share. :) They’re the kind of things you read that you want to highlight all over because hit you straight on. In common language, swak na swak. :P And here’s today’s reflection, which definitely hits the spot.


“I am already being poured out as a drink offering.” 2 Timothy 4:6 (R. V. Marg.)

“I am ready to be offered.” It is a transaction of will, not of sentiment. Tell God you are ready to be offered; then let the consequences be what they may, there is no strand of complaint now, no matter what God chooses. God puts you through the crisis in private, no one person can help an other. Externally the life may be the same; the difference is in will. Go through the crisis in will, then when it comes externally there will be no thought of the cost. If you do not transact in will with God along this line, you will end in awakening sympathy for yourself.

“Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” The altar means fire – burning and purification and insulation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God. You do not destroy it, God does; you bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar; and see that you do not give way to self-pity when the fire begins. After this way of fire, there is nothing that oppresses or depresses. When the crisis arises, you realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What is your way of fire?

Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.

* February 6, 2007 reflection from My Utmost for His Highest, emphasis mine.

This particular reflection reminds me of God.com by Alexander Langteoux, and Elijah’s sacrifice on Mt. Carmel (more to this on another post). This reflection obviously does not give a picture of a happy kind of faith, where one gets what he/she asks for in prayer. At first, our spiritual life would start like that, until God tells you it’s time to mature. And that’s where the struggle, the confusion and the sacrifices come in.

I think this is what most people avoid in their spiritual life, the one that comes after the initial wonder of discovering who God is. After a period of “bliss”, God brings our faith into a deeper level. This is the time when God asks one to do two things that I think are the hardest things to do: to let go and to trust. You may say that it’s easy to do that, like the way you let go of a top that doesn’t fit you anymore or the way you trust a friend by telling him a secret. But what if you have to let go of someone you loved for a long time because the relationship isn’t working out? Would you be able to let go? Or what if you had to tell your friend something about your past that you are so ashamed of, one that could potentially destroy your friendship? Would you be able to trust your friend even if he urges you to do so?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been learning that faith is hardly comfortable at all. It’s easy to tell God that you have faith in Him but to really put it into action is hard. To let go of yourself and to trust in Him fully is never comfortable. We tend to think that when we put our lives in God’s hands, our lives would become easier and it would be smooth sailing all the way. But it’s not. One of the major things we have to learn about believing in God is that it requires sacrifices. Although God loves just just the way we are, if we really want to follow Him, it would require sacrifice on our part. We cannot follow Him and our selfish desires at the same time. As we grow in our faith, we have to let go of our other baggages and learn to trust in Him. We have to let go of our former selves and trust that God is in control, that He won’t let anything harm us.

It may sound easy as I write it and you read it, but actually trying to live that out is, well, hard. I’m still struggling with this, and just as when I thought all my selfish parts have been “burned”, as Oswald Chambers said, I find out there’s more. The more you truly believe in Him, the more you — the selfish, conceited and nasty you — are destroyed to make room for the new person He is making you to be. This is the fire that comes to our lives once we decide to truly follow Him, the fire that burns not us, but the selfishness that lives within us.

I know this sounds all negative and all, but look at the last line of the reflection: Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be. Think of your deepest, greatest and most wished-for dream, the one that makes you sigh and say, “Someday.” Think of your sincerest hopes, the ones where you say, “I promise to be good if only this would happen to me/if only I could get this.” Now think of that, and think of what you will do when you fulfill those dreams, those hopes. Think of the joy you felt on Christmas morning as a kid, and multiply that a thousand fold. That is just a taste of what God has in store for you, for me, for us. The pain that you and I experienced, am experiencing and will experience as the fire refines us is nothing compared to what He has in store for us after.

Letting go. Trust. Sacrifice. JOY. Are you ready to be offered?

Have a nice day, everyone. :)

The Ultimate Birthday

Your birthday is the most popular in the whole world because everyone celebrates it. And I mean everyone. Even the ones in the remotest areas know that this day is special, I bet. Your birthday is also the inspiration of a lot of novels, movies and TV specials; in fact, everyone feels special on Your birthday, as if it was theirs too. Everyone gives everyone else gifts, and every family prepares a HUGE dinner at the Eve of Your birthday — it’s like one big birthday party all over the world.

It’s sad to think, though, that most people forget that it is Your birthday on Your birthday, that they forget to greet You. Everyone’s happy, but more often than not, people forget about You, the celebrant. People forget the reason why they celebrate with all these gifts and food; people forget the night where Your mom and earthly dad wandered around your hometown and end up in a stable where You were born, when You deserve to be born in a palace.

So this year, I pray that everyone remembers You this time. That in the midst of the gift-giving, Christmas wreaths, the eating and the festivities, people would pause even for just a minute and remember that it’s Your birthday and if it weren’t for Your coming into the world, we wouldn’t be where and who we are right now. :) I know You know this already, but just so You know (again), we’re having cake tonight for You. :)

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY DEAR JESUS. ♥ ♥ ♥ I can’t wait to see You smile this big when we are all together and celebrate Your birthday up there with You. :) I love You! ♥ ♥ ♥

About that time, Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounte for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

There were shepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

“Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They had told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

– Luke 2:1-20 (The Message)

Merry Christmas, everyone! May we all remember the reason for the season. :) God bless!

Steady now, we're in this together

My dad arrived today. :) Yay. After fetching him at the airport, we headed to Duty Free and got lots of chocolates again (goodbye diet! Hahaha). I almost broke a bottle of Vodka for my brother’s birthday which goes to show how much of a klutz I am. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon (very unique novel…at some point I dreamt I was also autistic), and sleeping. I ate some Holy Kettle Corn (and felt really fat afterwards) and then prepared for the CLP.

Tonight’s talk was an old talk I’ve heard so many times already: Who is Jesus Christ? Being a part of the community for seven years, I’ve heard many versions of this talk many times. I’ve shared for this talk once, and to be honest, I don’t think it was a good sharing. :P I can’t remember what exactly I said then, but I don’t think I answered the question of who Jesus Christ is to me clearly.

Anyway, so tonight they needed a sharer and Kuya Gary got me, joking that I’m always mission ready. Right. I took the opportunity and the speaker, Ate Bev, told me to just share about who Jesus is for me. Then I was faced with the same question that I didn’t get to answer before: who is Jesus Christ to me?

Continue reading Steady now, we're in this together