For Catholics here in the Philippines, we look forward to the pre-dawn masses which is celebrated starting today up to Christmas. The tradition of Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo began in Spanish times, when farm workers wanted to have Mass very early before they go to work. It is said that if you complete the the nine novena masses, your wish will be granted. However, clergies remind us that let’s not make Simbang Gabi into a “wishing well” because it is a thanksgiving mass.
What’s nice about Simbang Gabi is that the whole family often go to church together. I think this is one of our Filipino traditions which we should continue to practice. Wherever you are in the Philippines, in the city or in the province, Simbang Gabi is something we all look forward to. After the mass, there’s usually the steaming hot bibingka for you to enjoy. I have never completed the Simbang Gabi thus I admire those who diligently attend the mass and complete the nine mornings.
Faith is what helps us Filipinos overcome the different challenges we have in life. Christmas is always looked forward to as a season of giving. We have proven time and again the greatness of the Filipino heart. We are capable of giving so much love that even if we don’t have much, we give to our countrymen during times of needs as we have shown during Ondoy Typhoon. If only we can be like this the whole year round.
This year has been very challenging for us all. Let’s forget about commercialism and contemplate on the reason why we are celebrating this season. It’s the birth of Jesus Christ, our savior. All the glory and honor are His.