Welcoming year 2011

Unlike in the Philippines where the new year is welcomed literally with a bang using paputok (firecrackers), torotot (toy trumpets), and almost anything that creates noise, new year is greeted silently and peacefully in Japan.  This striking difference is perhaps a reflection of the contrast between the cheerfulness of Filipinos and the silent nature of the Japanese people.

Whether you greet the new year silently or not, however, is less important to whether or not you have someone to welcome it with.  This is why Cerg and I are thankful that despite of being away from our families in the Philippines, we still had friends and foster families in Japan with whom we welcomed 2011.

Of course, it doesn't mean that we have to welcome the new year the Japanese way just because we are in Japan.  We still did it Filipino style, that is, with lots of fun and lots of food!  Even without the lechon, the crispy pata, and the hamonado, we still had the roasted turkey, the bungi-friendly kare-kare, the "wet" morcon, and other diet-ruining food.  Even without the noise of kwitis, five-star, and other firecrackers, we still had the noise, or rather the voice of Ate Minda, Ate Tess, and Ate Edna to listen to.  Sa susunod magpatulog kayo!

Even more important, I think, to the HOW and the WHO of welcoming the new year is the WHY of it.  Without the reason for welcoming the new season, it appears to be just a practice of empty traditions.

As for us and other Iglesia Ni Cristo members, we look forward to each new year as its coming signifies that we are closer than ever to reaching our goal.  It reminds us of the instructions of the apostle Paul to “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light”  for indeed “our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”  Our journey onwards to meet the Lord is almost over and so we must always be prepared and never doubt the promises of Him who said, "Surely, I come quickly.

May we all have a blessed new year!


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