During my school days, Christmas has always been a time for a much-awaited break from studying. It is a time of sleeping late and waking up late. The whole Christmas season was a time of parties, vacation trips and of course, gifts! After my school days, Christmas became more of a one-night thing—attending Christmas Eve mass and eating Noche Buena right after as there are less vacation days. Of course the parties still remain.
Ever since I joined the EMHC (Extra-Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion) more than 12 years ago, the way I look at Christmas slowly evolved. It transformed from being a very self-centered celebration into a more service-oriented one.
The preparation for the Christmas season started during the Christ the King procession. We were tasked as marshals and carriers during the procession. We were also requested to serve during the Simbang Gabi masses not just in the main Church, but also in all villages of the parish. During the Christmas Eve masses, we see a battalion of EMHCs all psyched up and ready to serve.
Christmas day is also a busy day for EMHCs. Then it goes on to the New Years Eve mass, New Years day masses, even up to the feast of the “Three Kings”! Christmas for me now involves a lot of planning, preparation and actual schedules of service. It is totally different from being just a “customer” to being an actual “server”.
What about the parties, the family gatherings, and to the gifts? Everything is still present. I still attend parties, go on vacations and still receive gifts—I still have a life to live. The only difference is that my schedule now revolves around the “Church” schedule. Serving as an EMHC broadened my involvement during Christmas. I find it more fulfilling as I don’t just attend the celebration, but I am now part of its preparation and execution.
Looking at the past 12 years, I am very happy that I accepted the invitation to serve as an EMHC as it brought more meaning to my Christmas and I am now serving the Lord by serving His people.
Photo by Jaime Blanco