“I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother, and I found all three.”
-William Blake

LOOKING down on the streets from a window one night, and with the slightest yuletide breeze touching my skin, I hear the Christmas songs sung by children caroling while people are busy decorating their houses with Christmas lights and lanterns. As these images, sounds, and feelings surround me, I long for the time when I was still a child, excited about Christmas.

Christmas was very special to me as a child because aside from the long school break, I got to decorate the Christmas tree with my mother; I got to wear the nicest clothes; I got to wake up at 12 in the morning to eat noche buena with the whole family; and I got to open Santa’s gifts.

But in spite all these, I always longed for playmates and siblings because being the only child in the family, with no brothers or sisters, no one was present to help me assist my mother decorate the house with Christmas lights; and no one would accompany me in going to houses to carol, singing and begging for pennies.

In the face of loneliness, I saw other children carolling outside, gayfully singing, dancing, and playing with the plastic bottles they used as musical instruments. In my desperation, I would personally give the carollers the money so I could somehow feel how it was to be with them.

No one was with me, not until Kyle, my adapted brother arrived.

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“Kuya Kyle,” as I call him, is half-American and half-German, who was adopted by my father, the family doctor of Kyle’s parents, after they died.

When I first saw him, I was annoyed because of his unusual complexion, features, and manner of speech. I also became jealous because of the attention he received from my parents.

But all of my negative impressions changed when, a week before Christmas, as I played with my favorite toy robot, and I accidentally broke its arm, Kyle heard me cry and yell, and he approached me, hugged me, and said, “Stop crying, I will fix that thing up, ading.”

Upon hearing the word ading (a term of endearment for younger brother in Ilocano), I suddenly stopped crying and my heart felt unexplained joy because it had seemed to have found its missing piece. At that very moment, all my longings for a companion to go caroling with, all the yearnings I had for siblings, disappeared. Alas, I had found a true brother in Kyle. With him around, I learned to set aside my selfishness and be contented with the presence of persons important to me during Christmas.

On the first Christmas eve we had together, I felt so happy because a chair was added to our dining table for noche buena, an additional sock was hung beside the Christmas tree, and another person became an instant member of our family. That was one of the Christmas eves I will never forget. A Christmas eve where I received a present that was more beautiful than what I had wished for–my own brother.

PRAYER: Almighty Father, Thank you for giving us siblings to be our guides in finding your star. Thank you for letting us realize that Christmas is not a season of receiving, but a season of sharing, forgiving, and reuniting once again as a family. May Christmas always remind us of your unending love and sacrifice for your people. Amen.

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