When December comes, a sense of anticipation and joy fills the air. This is a time when our country transforms into a vibrant wonderland of lights, colors, and festivities. The Filipino people eagerly await its arrival, which is widely considered the most important and cherished holiday in the nation. December is a month filled with love, merriment, and meaningful celebrations.

One of the most distinct aspects of December in the Philippines among the faithful Catholics is the prominence of Simbang Gabi, a series of nine dawn masses held from December 16 to Christmas Eve. This tradition originated during the Spanish colonial era and has become deeply ingrained among Filipino Catholics. Attending Simbang Gabi is seen as a testament to faith and devotion, with many people waking up early in the morning to attend mass before starting their day. The atmosphere during these masses is filled with solemnity and reverence, with churches adorned with lights and flowers, while the aroma of traditional Filipino delicacies fills the air after each service.

Another hallmark of December in the Philippines is the vibrant display of Christmas decorations. Filipinos take great pride in decorating their homes, streets, and even their workplaces with colorful lights, parols (star-shaped lanterns), and intricately designed belens (nativity scenes). The streets transform into a magical spectacle, with buildings and establishments competing for the most visually stunning display. Festive music and carols echo through the air, and children go caroling from house to house, filling the neighborhoods with cheerful melodies.

Indeed, when December comes, the country becomes a captivating blend of faith, tradition, and festivity. The predominantly Catholic Filipino people display their strong sense of community and their deep-rooted faith through the observance of Simbang Gabi, while the vibrant Christmas decorations and joyful caroling emphasize the spirit of merriment and togetherness. This cherished month serves as a reminder of the importance of love, faith, and unity, making December an enriching and joyful experience in the lives of Filipinos.
One thing that needs to be emphasized, though, is that this celebration should center on Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was born into this world to redeem mankind from sin and save them from eternal doom. It’s supposed to be his day, though the Bible is silent about the exact date of his birth. But the fact that he was born and took the human form is what we try to celebrate, for he came as the lamb of God, the sacrifice for sin so that through him we might be saved.