It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Toys in every store…. That’s the song I heard frequently from radio stations and big department stores around this time. Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Christmas trees. Lights in and around of most people’s houses. Crowded stores. A lot of sales. Slowing down in business. Christmas carols in churches and performance halls.
It will be my fourth Christmas in Canada. It’s very cold here around Christmas time. My first Christmas here was very memorable. I was alone, since my sister decided not to stay. At that time I saw snowfall on November 1, 2000 ~ that year Toronto experienced a harsh winter, and I experienced my first-time winter driving on the snow. I saw accidents ~ people couldn’t control their cars and bumped into each other. I saw many cars stuck on the median. One day I couldn’t go to work after a snowstorm because of the snow banks right at my apartment’s underground garage up to the closest road.
Sometimes I felt so alone and lonely. That’s why I put all my energy on my work and new groups of friends. I joined the English choir at St. Paschal Baylon Church across the apartment building where I used to live. This church is unique. It hosts the Scalabrini congregation ~ whose main charism is the care and welfare of migrants and emigrants. It has masses conducted in English, Italian, and Tagalog. And, of course choir groups in those languages. In my choir group there were immigrants from the Philippines, India, Srilanka, Ireland, and Korea. Bernadette, my choir director came here from Hong Kong when she was little.
I have heard so many stories about immigrants, their failures and triumphs, their joy and sorrow, their hope, challenge and loneliness. I often saw people wiped their tears when we sang songs that touched their hearts. I could relate to all their sentiments. Songs usually can help people channel their emotion ~ expressing the feeling that they have in their heart. For me sacred songs are always beautiful… they’re the echo of people’s love to God, the tambourine and cymbals of a yearning heart for a peaceful world, in and out. [I’m too hoping for a peaceful Christmas celebration in Indonesia.]
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. As I began my reflection today, a lot of things ran through my mind. Christmas… it’s not about presents or pompous parties. But it’s about preparing myself to His coming, a tiny baby that was born in a cold winter’s night… too poor to have a room… but yet divine to humble Himself to live among us.
Night of Silence
Cold are the people, winter of life,
We tremble in shadows this cold endless night,
Frozen in the snow lie roses, sleeping
Flowers that will echo the sunrise.
Fire of hope is our only warmth,
weary, its flame will be dying soon.
Voice in the distance, call in the night,
On wind you enfold us, you speak of the light,
Gentle on the ear you whisper softly,
Rumors of a dawn so embracing,
Breathless love awaits darkened souls,
Soon will we know of the morning.
Spirit among us, shine like the star,
Your light that guides shepherds and kings from afar,
Shimmer in the sky so empty, lonely,
Rising in the warmth of your Son’s love,
Start unknowing of night and day,
Spirit we wait for your loving son.
By: Daniel Kantor, David Haas and Lori True.
Link to the history of this song and its creator.