It is Christmas. It is Christmas. It is Christmas.

It is Christmas. It is Christmas. It is Christmas. 
WE HAVE GONE past the noche buena ritual. 
We still do it some of the time. But only some of the time when the spirit moves us. Otherwise, that is reserved for the remembrance and the remembrancers alike. 
When the first two kiddos were smaller, and when we were still in da Filipins, the noche buena was a rite and a ritual to remember. 
By the start of the '-ber' month, the missus would start to plan: What put to put on the table, what fruits get there for the display and for presentation, who is selling the best--ever!--fruit cake, and where to get all those expensive ingredients that go with the fruit salad that I always liked. 
Today, in a faraway land, the noche buena has lost its magic, enchantment, seduction, temptation. 
No can. 
We live a different life over here, with solitude marking our days, and that inward spirit that goes with children having grown up, and soon, soon, the coop will be empty except for the last daughter, young at 13, still figuring out her way in the world. 
Ours is a 24-hour life, with children doing things in the evening and some of them asleep during the daytime, their rooms unmoving like a monastic cell. You can hear the sound of a needle falling on the floor. 
The hours are not ours over here when we live lives that are as nuclear as the dreams of those wanting to go back to da Filipins every chance they got. 
Rootlessness defines our life, at least, the many that see that to go away is to take up the task of a pilgrim, moving and moving and moving and not staying put.
It is a metaphor, this, this life of peregrination, in the constancy of change and mutability and finitude. 
Ah, Christmas. 
Merry Christmas to all of you out there. 

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