MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

2017 Christmas Letter

with 2 comments

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

–Henri  Nouwen

 

It was a delightful year of rekindling friendships  for both Matthew and myself.

I was able to attend our 40th high school reunion to celebrate our 40th Ruby Year Anniversary. With lots of laughter and sometimes sentimental moments, I had a great time reminiscing about our wonderful high school years and meeting my high school chums.

When I got home from my short stint in Manila, it was Matthew’s turn to have his own wonderful reunion experience. Sr. Sonia came to the house for a visit. He was overjoyed to meet her, having not seen her for almost 20 years!  Sr. Sonia is Matthew’s  Zen meditation teacher, who played a major and transformative role in his life. Her guidance and encouragement has opened up new vistas, making him realize that there are possibilities in the spiritual life he never dreamed of.

Sometime middle of the year, we met up with Mel and Gie whom we’ve not seen in almost 10 years! We enjoyed catching up with what was happening in our own lives.

Another happy reunion for me was meeting up with Lolit, whom I have not seen in more than 15 years. After spending hours together having dinner and dessert, we both felt that time was not enough. How we both wish we had more time together!

Matthew had a celebration of sorts when he was again able to sit in meditation  with a group of old friends after more than 15 years — something he loved to do. For many years, he was only able to meditate by himself.  Thanks to the encouragement   of endeared friends – Sr. Marijo, Flor, Nena and John, who made all this possible! Looking forward to more “sits in meditation” with you in 2018!

We capped off the year with an 80th-year birthday celebration of our godfather and dearest Tito Peter in a beautiful resort in Asin.  It’s the first time I ever saw Matthew get sun burned 🙂  Needless, to say we enjoyed ourselves and the food was delish!

Of course, we cannot end this letter without mentioning our blog. Now on its ninth year, we have grown to have 333 followers and have reached an exciting  450,800+ hits! We are happy because people are   visiting our blog, liking our posts and our cyber community continues to grow.

May this holiday season sparkle and shine. May all of your wishes and dreams come true. And may you feel God’s presence in your life all year round.

Merry  Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

–Matthew & Jojang

 

 

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Written by MattAndJojang

December 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm

2016 Christmas Letter

with 6 comments

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I have only one desire, and that is the desire for solitude—to disappear into God, to be submerged in His peace, to be lost in the secret of His Face.

— Thomas Merton

“Matthew, can I visit you?” Sr. Marijo was on the other end of the line.

“Sure, Sister! I would love that.”

A flood of wonderful memories crossed through Matthew’s mind as he told me that we were going to have a visitor. He remembered this quote from Thomas Merton, who has largely influenced his life:

I have only one desire, and that is the desire for solitude—to disappear into God, to be submerged in His peace, to be lost in the secret of His Face.

Sr. Marijo introduced Zen to Matthew almost 40 years ago. With a small group of friends, they would regularly visit her and sit in meditation together. Needless to say, it was a life changing experience for them. Since then, Matthew shares to me how Zen has helped him deepen his Christian faith and how it has helped him cope with the challenges of life. (see this blog post: A Touch of Enlightenment: A Christian’s Encounter with Zen).

I really enjoyed listening to their animated conversation and as Matthew describes it, “It’s as if the conversation just stopped for a while and we took off from where we left off.”  I guess these are just the stuff that real friendships are made of.

This year, Matthew and I were quite busy.  We became godparents to the highly energetic and lovable  son of Alex and Robe Ann.  We were also able to attend the 50th Golden Anniversary of our godparents, Tito Peter and Tita Dory. It was so much fun to meet and catch up with many people we’ve not seen in a long time.

Also, this year, our endeared godparent Tito Tony passed away. We are saddened by the loss of one of the most generous persons that we have ever known. Thank you, Tito Tony for everything.

Of course, we cannot end this letter without mentioning our blog. Now on its eighth year, we have grown to have 319 followers and have reached a whooping 404,265+ hits! We are happy because people are  visiting our blog, liking our posts and our cyber community continues to grow.

May the blessings of Christmas be with you. May the Christ Child light your way. May God’s holy angels guide you, and keep you safe each day.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Matthew and Jojang

Written by MattAndJojang

December 1, 2016 at 9:40 pm

Christmas Letter 2015

with 8 comments

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Dear Family and Friends,

It has been a tumultuous year for Matthew and myself. We had a roller coaster ride of highs and lows which felt like it would never end. You see, for the past two years we were carrying a burden which seemed unsolvable. Suffice it to say that we tried everything we can to find solutions, but we always end up sad, stressed and frustrated. Quite recently, in the most unexpected way, our prayer was answered miraculously.

God is good indeed.

Like how our life has been for the past 13 years since we’ve been married, the Lord has never failed to reassure us that our life is indeed in His hands. Each time He reassures us that our seemingly insurmountable challenges are actually faith building experiences that brings us from glory to glory.

God is good indeed.

Of course, we cannot end this letter without mentioning our blog. Now on its seventh year, we have grown to have 283 followers and have reached 300,258+ hits. It’s edifying to know that many people appreciate our posts, and our cyber community has grown.

2016 is a new beginning for us. As God leads us, we trust that He will continue to be with us every step of the way.

May the forgiving spirit of Him to whom we dedicate this season prevail again on earth.
May hunger disappear and terrorists cease their senseless acts.
May people live in freedom, worshiping as they see fit, loving others.
May the sanctity of the home be ever preserved.
May peace, everlasting peace, reign supreme.

We pray that Christ will be alive for you this Christmas and all throughout the New Year ahead.

–Matthew and Jojang

 

Written by MattAndJojang

December 13, 2015 at 8:33 pm

A Christmas Prayer

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 During Christmas services in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestine, by the American Colony Jerusalem Photo Department, between 1934 and 1939

During Christmas services in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestine, by the American Colony Jerusalem Photo Department, between 1934 and 1939

A hauntingly beautiful Christmas prayer…

Your brightness is my darkness.
I know nothing of You and, by myself,
I cannot even imagine how to go about knowing You.
If I imagine You, I am mistaken.
If I understand You, I am deluded.
If I am conscious and certain I know You, I am crazy.
The darkness is enough.

—Thomas Merton, prayer before midnight mass at Christmas, 1941.

Written by MattAndJojang

December 25, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Christmas Letter 2014

with 14 comments

Jojang and Matt

Jojang and Matt

Dear Family and Friends,

Waiting is a mystery, a natural sacrament of life. There is a meaning hidden in all the times we have to wait. It must be an important mystery because there is so much waiting in our lives.

–Fr. James F. Donelan, SJ

“Mama, please help me find a spot in the house where I can pray?” Matthew asked me one morning.

Surprised, I said, “Okay.”

The request was music to my ears because it was a healthy sign that Matthew is well enough to be able to practice what he loves most – meditation and contemplative prayer.

Gone are the days when our days, weeks and months are measured by the number of times he is rushed to the hospital. Gone are the days when a foul smell is enough to trigger an asthma attack.

Indeed, waiting is a sacrament because the last time Matthew was able to sit, meditate and pray was twelve years ago…

Thank you, Lord. You are so good!

Although Matthew has not fully regained his old health back, nowadays when he is not feeling well, we already know what to do and shortly after he is able to recover and bounce back. Of course, we still need to be careful, and avoid situations and places that may trigger him. But we have gone a long way off from before. Slowly but surely, we hope that he becomes even stronger than when he was before.

We would like to thank Dra. Chona who patiently and lovingly took care of us throughout all these years. You are God’s angel for us.

Lastly, we cannot end this letter without mentioning our blog. Now on its sixth year, we have 230+ followers and have reached 249,500+ hits; a wonderful reaffirmation that we must be doing something good and reaching out to so many people. We appreciate our cyber friends who regularly keep in touch. And even those that drop by once in a while.

Let me end this letter with a Christmas Prayer (not my own). It echoes what we have in our hearts….

Christmas Prayer

Meister Eckhart once said:

What good is it that Christ was born 2,000 years ago if he is not born now in your heart?

Lord, we do far too much celebrating your actual coming into our hearts. I believe in God, but do I believe in God-in-me? I believe in God in heaven, but do I believe in God-on-earth? I believe in God out there, but do I believe in God-with-us?

Lord, be born in my heart. Come alive in me this Christmas! Amen.

We pray that Christ will be alive for you this Christmas and all throughout the New Year ahead.

 

Matthew and Jojang

Written by MattAndJojang

December 8, 2014 at 11:59 am

Christmas Letter 2013

with 12 comments

M&J_Max1_

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!

~ Isaiah 52:7

This verse keeps repeating in my mind as I contemplate on the lovely Cordillera mountain from where I sit at a coffee shop situated on the top floor of a mall here in Baguio City.

Where does this serenity in the midst of turbulence come from?

You see, the past year has been a tumultuous year for Matthew and I. We were faced with so much stress that it has taken its toll on our health.  Twice, Matthew had to be confined in the hospital, while I suffered some setbacks as well (weakened by my hospitalization around this time last year).

However, although unpleasant, this difficulty we recently faced turned out to be a faith building exercise for us. We stand witness to God’s faithfulness as big and small miracles happened… before we knew it, our concerns were being addressed… issues resolved and very slowly but surely problems solved.

To say that we are awed and humbled is an understatement … Thank you, Lord!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our doctors who patiently and lovingly take care of us. In spite of Matthew’s stress related hospitalization, he recovers much faster now than before — a marked improvement.  I, on the other hand, am grateful for my home based work wherein I do what I immensely enjoy doing.

I cannot end this letter without mentioning this blog which is a source of joy for us.  As of this writing, we have 134 followers and have reached 192,963 hits. All in a span of 5 years. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine that we will be able to reach out to so many people through this blog. It excites us that we have developed friendships on cyberspace too.  We got to meet like minded individuals who share our beliefs, convictions and interests. A wonderful blessing!

Let me end this Christmas letter with a quote from one of Matthew’s favourite authors:

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.

~ Meister Eckhart

And we say, “Thank you, Lord” … Indeed, you are good!

Here’s wishing you a meaningful Christmas and a grace filled New Year ahead.

Matthew and Jojang

Written by MattAndJojang

December 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm

O Come, Emmanuel

with 4 comments

A beautiful rendition of the classic Christmas hymn “O Come, Emmanuel.”

Written by MattAndJojang

December 22, 2012 at 8:45 am

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