It is apparent that we will have a different Christmas this year. The pandemic affects all of us in one way or another, some more than the others. While some of us are inconvenienced by wearing a mask while out in public, or waiting in line to get into a store, or not being able to dine in our favorite restaurants, I also know of friends who are going through the pain of losing a friend or a loved one because of COVID. With the implementation of another lockdown, plans are changing, and a few Christmas traditions will have to wait till next year to happen. In CGS, we will not have our yearly Christmas concert that the choirs put together to help raise funds for our ministries, or get together in person to sing carols and hymns, and share food or treats. Mike and I will not be traveling to Montana this time to spend Christmas with family. So, for now, we’re holding on to the fond and joyful memories of past Christmases, and I’ve got plenty to get me through. Some of my happiest Christmas memories go back to when I was a teenager in the Philippines. I remember going house to house with my choir, singing carols, receiving gifts, and at the end of the evening, sharing lots of laughter over simple food. We would also go to amusement parks that were only open around the season, and enjoy the rides and whatever tasty munchies that we could get our hands on. In our home, Christmas Eve dinner, which is traditionally called “Noche Buena”, was always special. Mom would prepare foods that were only served during special occasions, like roasted chicken, ham, “arroz valenciana” (savory sticky rice with meat and vegetables), and Filipino-style spaghetti (don’t laugh, but it’s sweet, with cut-up hotdogs, ground meat, and the usual tomato sauce, with maybe a little bit of banana catsup). Coming to the US, I’ve made new fond memories with different people in different events and places, like singing with dear friends in the Christmas concerts of the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus, and engaging in some traditions we have at CGS, like sprucing up our church at the beginning of the season and putting together our own Christmas concert and pageant. And this year, what I will miss the most is spending time with friends in our homes, singing together, and sharing food and laughter.
However, pandemic or not, as different as it will be, Christmas is coming, and its message stays the same – the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that gives us hope.
A safe and merry Christmas to all!
-Rey Lambatin, CGS Choir Director
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.