Hello everyone and a happy Christmas eve to all of you! It’s currently 1:13am as I write this and I just really wanted to write a quick post and share the things I’ve learned because you guys, I’ve completed the 9 nights of Misa de Gallo or what the Filipinos call “Simbang Gabi”.
Before I go on any further with my experiences, I want to share with you some Filipino traditions and explain how Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi works. I don’t know if other countries have this but yeah.
Misa de Gallo
Traditionally, Christmas in the Philippines is ushered in by the nine-day dawn masses that starts on December 15 (night) and December 16 (morning). It is one of the most important Christmas Filipino tradition. Catholics and Aglipayan churches believe that when you complete the nine masses, you may obtain a special grace or receive what you’ve been asking for in prayer.
It was a journey. The Simbang Gabi started at December 15, Saturday, and we had our midterm examinations at 17, 18 and 19. I was procrastinating and honestly, just crying because of the exams and my mind’s already about celebrating Christmas! Here’s the things I have learned while attending the masses:
1. Sacrifice. You need to sacrifice in order to feel grace. I know, God is graceful, but God really do love those people who become Christ-like by sacrificing something in their lives. One can sacrifice rest just to be with the Lord in church, some can sacrifice time to be with others, and a lot more. Sacrifice is the first thing I learned because I also sacrificed just for Christ, to prepare for His coming. I know this isn’t much of a big deal but I sacrificed my study time (which is really important to me because it’s… midterms), I sacrificed my sleep (which I really need because there’s a lot going on in acads) and I just had to sacrifice my bonding time with family because I can’t have the time anymore. And here goes the second thing I learned.
2. God is faithful. He is, and He will always. I sacrificed my study time but when the exact examination moment came, I’m surprised that I can answer the test and some of them were just really easy for me. (I thank God for this. I badly needed His help.) I sacrificed my bonding time with family but no, it’s just what I thought at first. Attending the mass with my family is also a form of bonding and we just connect to each other by the Lord’s presence. It’s actually really good to have a break with all the acads and just be with the Lord and my family. In some nights as well, the priest also emphasized how good God is and how faithful He is to His promises.
3. Endurance. There are a lot of struggles— in some days it would really rain so hard, in some it would be so freaking cold you’d just want to be in your comforter and in some days, you just don’t feel like attending the mass. But, endurance is the key, my friends. In one sermon as well, the priest had told us how the enemy is wanting to win by doing anything he can so that the servant of the Lord goes away in His grace or presence. Endurance. We need to have strength in all the challenges because certainly, God has promised us a good future and if we continue to seek Him, we’ll delight in His promises. Just endure the process, trust the process.
4. God provides. He truly do! After the examination week and all the Christmas parties I’ve gone to, of course, I was really tired, and drained. My family always hugs me but for one night, I wanted someone (randomly) to hug me. Like if I saw a friend in the church, I really want that friend to hug me, with no reason at all. I kind of needed hugs that time and this is where God worked. December 21, a group of orphaned kids performed in the church. I was just sitting behind them, and I smile at them when I can. I just love smiling at them because they smile back, and we both feel loved. December 22, I saw the kids again and one little girl named Shiela, looked at me and smiled at me. I waved at her. After the mass ended, she ran to me and hugged me. GOD, her hugging me was the purest and most genuine thing ever. I almost cried that moment because I really felt God hugging me that time. He provides. And that little girl who hugged me, I knew for a fact that God used her to become an instrument to make me feel loved because I was honestly drained.
This is not in the context anymore but I just wanna share you some of the kids’ life story. I had the chance to sit and talk with them last December 23, I don’t know but God may have made a way for us to talk to one another. Aside from my little angel Shiela, I also met Maria and Angel. (They truly were angels.) Shiela and Angel were sisters and they told me how they are far away from their parents because they could feed them no more, so they sent them to the orphan. Maria told me she really live far away from my hometown (where they live now) and they live in the side of the rails of the train, which is probably the slums here in the Philippines. It was really sad, they’ve been through worst in that age, and yet they manage to smile genuinely and give joy to others. They are truly God’s gift and I hope they continue to smile as long as they can.
And the last lesson I learned,
5. Be joyful. Always. In every little thing, we should find joy for it will give us a sense of peace and harmony in ourselves. Just this. Find joy in everything that you do.
Thank you so much for reading! I loved writing this post so much. I actually wanted to share photos of Shiela, Maria and Angel but I just want to keep this privately because they might not want it, too.
I want to ask you guys to pray for the kids, to pray for the orphans and those who were left behind. They are kids and they deserve to be loved. They deserve to be happy. Please pray for their happiness and peace of heart and mind. It would greatly help them. ❤️