Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘secret santa’

The Wrong Gift

My eyebrows were twitching with horror as I glared at the huge box before me. By the looks of it, it did not contain the book I had asked for in my Christmas wish list. The moment I ripped open the green, Christmas wrapper around it, I was even more horrified.

I had received a pair of sandals in our office Kriskringle.

“WHAT’S THIS?!” I cried in dismay, my voice ringing around the office. “I DID NOT ASK FOR A PAIR OF SANDALS THIS CHRISTMAS!”

I realized my embarrassment when a bespectacled guy approached me. He was the one who had picked my name. He explained he could not find the one I was wishing for so he looked for anything that’s connected to my interest. He thought the sandals would be good for my hiking trips, but I am sorry they could not help my feet maintain balance on assaults. I’d rather have highly-expensive shoes to ensure footing on such trips.

He offered to replace the gift since I did not like it. 

I meekly and guiltily returned the box to him. Such was the episode of receiving the wrong gift.

But that was not the first time I had received disappointments on such occasions.

For the past two consecutive Christmas parties at another company, I had never – as in, never – had the privilege of receiving any of the three gifts I had listed on our Kriskingle wish list. The guy who had picked up my name gave me disappointing gifts. He explained he had lost the list…and lost it again the next year because he was the same guy who had picked up my name. He seems to be at the habit of losing wish lists.

My friend warned me that men usually don’t take the time and effort to look for what was listed in the wish list of their monito or monita. But I am careful not to do that to keep from ruining the Christmas spirit of my monito or monita.

I took so much time and effort to find what my monita really wanted. It was harrowing and stressful, especially copies of the book she wanted were sold out in the midst of panic buyers. I was ready to give up and resolve to another gift until a text message came to me at the last minute, reserving the book she wanted under my name. 

Praise God for the timing. I guess this is the reason I was not buying another gift or asking an accomplice if she wanted another book of the same author. When she unwrapped the present, she was bursting with glee and she ran away with the most perfect Christmas present she had received in her life.

She was total stranger to me. But deep inside I was glad to make her happy by fulfilling her wish (but hey, I’m no genie). Somehow, that’s my mission. And I want to ensure that the receiver would not be disappointed. 

Somehow, I believe some people would give just anything because tradition obligates them to do so. But giving gifts is not an obligation. It is an act of appreciation, friendship, love, and respect. 

It’s fulfilling when the person receiving your gift smiles because all your effort and sacrifice searching for it has been paid. I would never forget when my monito, a seious guy who would occasionally give charming half smiles, brightened up when he received the pair of boxers he wanted. That smile made me forget the great embarrassment of going to the men’s section to buy a pair of boxers (where I asked my mom to accompany me on buying such a pair because I had no idea about boxers). As much as possible, I follow what’s in a person’s wish list because it’s also an act of valuing that person. In turn, receiving the gift I really wanted gives me the impression that the giver values me well. 

All my disappointment had washed away when my closest friends gave me the most wonderful gifts later that day. I saw they were all attributed to my personality and needs. By what I had received, I could see their effort and the love they had poured into their sleepless search across every mall and specialty store. It’s fun receiving them but it was even more fulfilling to know how much I am loved.

I just hope my Secret Santa next year would value me just as I value my monito or monita. And before this year ends, I’ll make a follow up on my not-so-secret Santa about the right and perfect gift I had been waiting for all my life…

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A Time to Share

It’s natural for us to love receiving. A lot of people, especially kids, await Christmastime because of the gifts we would be receiving. It’s a really a blessing to receive a lot. But actually, it is more blessed to give (Prov. 22:9).

In my first year in the media industry, I’m so blessed to receive a lot from a lot of people. From make-up kits to seedlings, and even winning a new pseudo-SLR – that’s a lot of blessings. These are gifts and blessings that I did not ask for and yet the Lord opened up His storehouse for me. How good and generous is my Father. But here’s one overflowing gift I’ve received of this season: sackloads of rice.

One of them I won from a raffle in a Christmas party and the other smaller package was a gift from big people in my beat. That was not meant to bribe, since it’s a tradition that these people should give. I had a hard time planning and bringing it home, as I had it carried from our service car to another car and then to my big brother’s tricycle back to our house (and it took a couple of weeks before it got to our house). Looking at the weight and quantity of the rice I brought, my mom and I thought it was too much for us. And yet, we did not hesitate to give so much of it away.

The small bag was our share (and it was overflowing on our table haha). As for the bigger sack, half of it went to my big bro. As for the other half, my mom had an idea. It was through this that I saw her heart for giving.

For a long time, my mom dreamed of sharing a lot to other people. We are not a rich family and yet in whatever she would receive, she would share it to me, to her grandchildren, her family, and even to friends. Whenever we would have shortage in our resources, she would be saddened, not because she had not enough for herself, but she had nothing to give to others. She shared to me just this morning that giving rice to our neighbors was one of her prayers. Oh, blessed be my generous mom!

Rice, candies, other goods, these are just simple gifts for the needy. But we wanted them to receive food for their hungry souls

I loved the idea of sharing what we have to our neighbors. But my mom had seven families in her heart to whom she wanted to share. Three would be from my Kuya’s apartment. The other four would be from outside.

We had parted the remaining rice into seven parts. I believe each had one to two kilos. Along with each pack is a bag of candies for the children and a canned good. But material gifts is not what she really wanted to give out. She had another thing in mind. And I almost cried when we put them into the bags.

There were gospel tracks. Yes, the ones given out with God’s salvation message inside. As there were no Christmas gospel tracks in the Christian bookstores in the nearest mall, she had her own copied xeroxed. She would admit that she is not as bold as any preacher to speak out with words of fire on the salvation message. Yet, it is her heart’s desire to see our neighbors surrendering their lives to Jesus.

My oh my…how generous is my mother indeed. Lord, bless her dear heart.

A gospel track that my mom had readied for this day. In it is a timeless message that feeds your soul.

We prayed for the bags and then set out on dark. As a natural reaction, the neighbors were grateful. But I prayed that they would take time to read the track and that the Holy Spirit will move into their hearts.

I do not write this to brag how generous we are. Actually, it was my mom who was the more generous one between us. I was just so blessed to see her heart for our neighbors that I wanted to share to others. When I saw the tracks for the first time, I felt guilty. What she did seemed small, and yet the Lord saw her big love to the unsaved. I believe she had reaped a lot in heaven for she had sown so much for His Kingdom. I did not even had the heart to do such a thing, even though my effort might seem so small. What is the quantity of our efforts if we had enormous sincerity and passion for the reason we do it? Truly, the Lord rewards these passionate people in unexpected ways, and somehow, I could sense that my mother will be blessed enormously.

In our culture today, we view Christmas as a time to receive and receive. Families would go out on the 25th to do the modern tradition of “namamasko”, going from house to house expecting to be given gifts. But my mom taught me that we should reverse that and instead, we should go from house to house to give not only gifts but also Jesus’ pure, unrelenting love. What we did yesterday was just a glimpse on how big and genuine is my mother’s heart to share.

May many see God’s great love through the birth of His dear Son on earth. May the whole world feel the Father’s love when His Son died on the cross for all of us. May the Lord bless people just like my mom who wanted the world to see His love through giving. And may the young generation like me become generous just like my mom. It is indeed more blessed to share. We cannot keep what we receive to ourselves or we’ll receive no more.

I’m sure there are other “secret santas” out there who anonymously give what they have out of love. May you be blessed abundantly! Merry Christmas to all and may the heavens pour out on everyone! 🙂

A Bookworm’s Secret Longing

Ah, I can’t wait to read Joel Rosenburg’s “Epicenter”. Who would have thought I would be having a copy years after it’s being published. My secret santa was so considerate to ask what I want and so I got what I want. My Father in heaven really knows how to give the desires of my heart.

It’s been a long time since I had new books. And now the book worm was revived in me…oh, how I crave to know more and how I long to read more! I used to remember how it was a struggle to read and more so, buy books. I will never forget how I stared at a bookstore with puppy eyes when I had no work and how I yearned the scent of a freshly bought book in my hands. And so now, the joy of having new ones is back again. But it would be a joy for me to have the ones I really long to have.

I still have more in my wishlist…but it’s up to my Father to give them to me in due time. :))

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