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Tonight the traditional Noche Buena is served, as Filipinos also celebrate the tradition of going to midnight masses and having the family come over to spend the first hour of Christmas together. Some would open their gifts and others would wait until the next day. For our family, we wait until the early morning to open gifts, especially the ones from Santa Claus. Yes, my kids still believe in Santa Claus (or they claim to believe so they would receive more gifts).
There are also incomplete families this Holiday Season, as many OFWs work abroad to seek a better future for their families. They surely miss their families back home. I know that this is not the best situation, but sometimes, sacrifices are needed to ensure a better future for the family. It is good that cell phone rates and broadband rates have gone down, so families can bond with each other through the internet via voice and video thru Skype. But still, nothing can replace being together with your love ones.
One of my wishes last year was for my wife to be able get through the pain of seeing her father battle cancer. He passed away January this year. A Christmas without parents is quite different. To those who still have both parents alive, you should cherish every moment of it.
I also lost two friends this year, Cris Lim and Franco Delgado. Both were only in their 50s and they never expected to go this soon. Their laughter will surely be missed by many.
Christmas brings about a time for us to reflect on the past year. Most entrepreneurs, who get so busy or try to be very busy, do not get to see the trees anymore. Before we know it, life has just passed us by so quickly. Then, we regret not spending enough time with loved ones, our parents, children and spouses. (Blame it on our super-connectivity phones like Nokia Instant Messaging.)
Let me share with you my Christmas wish list.
First, I would like to thank God for blessing me with a great family, loving children and wife, and a two year old who has been totally spoiled by her siblings. I wish that He continuous to bless us with good health.
My second wish is for my wife’s aunt. She was recently here for the Assumption Velada and stayed with us for three weeks. Upon going back to London, she was diagnosed with the big C and given months to live. I wish that she be given the grace and courage to go through this challenging time with acceptance and peace.
My third wish is for my parents to be continuously blessed with good health, as my father reaches the age of 78 on Dec. 29. I hope that he continues to find purpose in life and learn to relax.
My fourth wish is for the many micro and small entrepreneurs to have the courage, hope and passion to pursue their dreams, to beat poverty, and to overcome any difficult situation that come their way.
My fifth wish is for PGMA. Despite her poor popularity ratings in the survey, I wish that she continues to do what is best for our country in the remaining months of her term, to ensure a clean and honest election and to continue to lay the foundation for a strong Philippine economy.
My sixth wish is for our country, the Philippines. I wish that we will no longer be the poor man of Asia; that people all over the world will look at us with respect as one with the best economic turnaround stories, with inspiring Filipinos excelling in many fields, known for being loving and caring global citizens; that we continue to have more modern day heroes who will lift the Filipino pride and sense of nationalism; and that we deserve a future president who will continue to be pro-economy.
My last wish is for us Filipinos: that we continue to love our country and as we do so, we continue to encourage people that we do have a great country; that we encourage optimism rather than pessimism; that we continue to inspire rather than discourage; that we continue to be happy for those who are able to do better and finally get rid of the crab mentality; that we continue to help empower especially the marginalized Filipinos, and that, as a predominantly catholic country, we realize that the importance of prayer and spirituality is not just about going to church but living it.
In America, it may not be common to say “Merry Christmas”. Rather, they use “Happy Holidays”. We should never allow this to happen in our country. The reason for this celebration is the birth of our savior Jesus Christ, and so we internalize and commemorate the essence His coming. So, Merry Christmas to everyone!
In whatever way we celebrate our Christmas tonight, may we enjoy the blessings from God with our family, friends and the business we run or the company we work for. To the OFWs out there who are not able to come home to spend Christmas with their families, I do hope that you not only be blessed with a happy Christmas season, but with a brighter future for your family.
Thank you to those who have been following this column for over three years now. If I do sound too optimistic sometimes or even pro-PGMA, I am just trying to balance all the pessimism and the anti-PGMA feeling out there. Maraming salamat.
I would also like to share my column in the Business Lifestyle Section entitled Tagumpay, which features very inspiring micro entrepreneurs who went through the most difficult situations in their lives and yet have managed to achieve their “Tagumpay mula sa Kahirapan”. This column comes out Monday semimonthly.
Email me at email@example.com, or thru my Joey Concepcion Facebook account, or thru SMS at 09189656333. For free business advice, visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the GO NEGOSYO: Kaya Mo! Show in QTV, every Saturday and Sunday 8 to 8:30 a.m., with replays in NBN every Sunday 9:15 to 10 p.m.