Advent signals Christmas is just around the corner

by: Ray Andres

ADVENT AT CORNERSTONE FULLERTON: Willy Lising, Head Deacon of the Cornerstone Christian Fellowship of Orange County, lights the Advent Candle assisted by his daughter, Chloe, Carina (his wife) and son Kenneth (partly hidden) as his eldest son, King, prays at the podium to signal the start of activities to celebrate Christmas in the local Filipino-American Church. Other denominations perform similar tradition as they await the Second Advent.

Thanksgiving Day signals the “official” start of the Christmas season in this part of world where the following day, a Friday, has been dubbed as the “Black Friday” when merchants hope to generate good businesses to brighten up their accounting books. It is also an important day to provide them an opportunity to clear up the shelves to make way for brand new items for the coming year.

Many Filipinos find this period of the season in their adopted country not long enough (and not colorful enough) having been accustomed to celebrating the most awaited part of the year in their home country when months ending in “ber” is already considered Yuletide season even when it’s only September and Christmas songs begin to fill the air. Everybody during the cold season seems to be in the mood to unload their hard-earned cash to satisfy their desires for material goods by shopping and feasting their eyes with the glitter and color of the season.

The occasion also serves as a sad reminder to many of the unfairness that they see around them as viewed from their economic stations in life where the inequality in the apportionment of blessing abounds.

The season has the uncanny way of diverting the celebrators to the real and profound meanings of all the frenzy.  Lost in the din of all the preparations is the true reason for the season that has somehow been sidetracked and the real meaning ignored.

In the Christian world, Christmas begins with the Advent that lasts for about four weeks which starts early in early December  although retailers have the bad habit of beginning Christmas in November or even as early as October for obvious reasons, of course.

Advent overlaps with what is usually thought of in the  American culture as the Christmas season but with the beginning and ending well defined. The themes are, however, quite a bit different from what is commonly attached with secular Christmas celebrations.

The Christian season of Christmas actually begins on Christmas Eve and lasts for twelve days, ending on January 6.

Advent is the time before Christmas and a season to prepare for Christmas. Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah.

Advent, which comes from the Latin “adventus” which means “coming” or “visit”  is a poignant reminder of how much we need a Savior and look forward to His second coming. Christmas is claimed at the “time where Christians keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem where Jesus was born in a manger, and the second that is yet to come.”

As the Christendom awaits with great anticipation the glorious day of this momentous celebration, may it not lose track on the real and deeper significance of the occasion.

Anaheim Mayor cites City’s resiliency at Washington event

The City of Anaheim’s program to involve its citizenry in emergency preparedness and recovery has been recognized at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC recently.

The Hi Neighbor program which places emphasis on “neighbor helping one another in times of calamities and emergencies” is one that resembles the same spirit of “bayanihan” that permeates the fabric of the Filipinos. The same spirit is now at work, as it had in the past, in the face of the most recent typhoon devastations in the southern part of the Philippines.

Mayor Tom Tait before a group of scholars and private sector officials emphasized Anaheim’s “views, plans and actions for building a resilient community based on freedom and kindness”.

The Hi Neighbor Program which puts emphasis on investment in social infrastructure has been envisioned to serve as the key to managing disaster response and recovery.  The Program has served a model for national emergency response.


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