12 Years Without Christmas


November 24, 1993 when I first came to work in Saudi Arabia. I am so lonely then because it is only about a month to go its Christmas. Yet for the reason that I was so eager to work abroad to earn a dollar, I set aside the Holiday season and faced a new beginning as an OFW in a foreign land. Knowing now that up to this year 2006, I already missed Christmas for 12 long years.  

It is also sad to say that in this country we never felt the spirit of the season. It is not because we don’t want to feel it but it is an obligatory sign of respect to Islamic faith, culture and traditions of the host country. Christians like me should adhere to the restrictions on our holiday celebrations. Although, Saudi authorities are not so strict nowadays compared to the past years, still it is good for us not to show any kind of disrespect to their way of life. Therefore, we always have Christmas without decorations and no Christmas gatherings. Though some quarters may have a small party but we have to limit the time of the celebrations. After that, back to normal and continue our work the next day as if it is just nothing was celebrated.

As what I have mentioned, it’s been 12 long years that I haven’t spent the Yuletide Season with my family and friends and how I really wished to be with them for the holiday.

My daughter once texted me how she wished to be with me in time of Christmas but I can’t do nothing except praying that someday I and my family will be together attending “Simbang Gabi” and have a solemn “Noche Buena”.

I replied her text and say “Anak ang importante buo ang pamilya natin kahit wala ako sa piling ninyo“. 

However the most sacred message about Christmas is to reaffirm our faith in which we will serve God to its fullest in our everyday lives – is a Holiday Season of the true meaning of Christ’s birth.

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