Merry Christmas! So I did indeed go to three different worship services yesterday:
This here is the building and sanctuary of Greenhills Christian Fellowship which, despite its name, is not in Greenhills but in Ortigas Center. This was the “born-again” church at which I went to services in the early days of my switch to evangelical Protestantism. GCF is very much a modern megachurch, complete with blocky architecture, Don Moen praise-worship songs, multiple overhead screens showing song lyric animations, and clapping and hand waving from the packed Filipino congregation. (I admit with some wry shame that I was part of this pop-church culture back in more youthful days, when I was a song leader at GCF’s South Metro satellite in Alabang.)
Immediately after morning service at GCF I joined my family over at Mary the Queen, our home parish church, for an 11am Fourth Sunday of Advent Mass. Up until my conversion to evangelical Protestantism, the Jesuit-run MTQ was home church to me, the church of my childhood where my family regularly went for Sunday Mass (except when we were running late and had to go instead to the nearby Santuario de San Jose which had masses starting fifteen minutes later). I was with the choir here as well, a mellow post-Vatican II affair of guitars and mixed voices singing Filipino Catholic standards of the Manoling Francisco variety.
The Christmas Eve Midnight Mass was held with the Bautista clan, a huge branch of relatives on the Ordoveza tree, at their home in Makati. Fr. Unson celebrated the Mass, as always, with a quintessentially Jesuit sermon on the Incarnation, heavy on theology, with quotes from Soren Kierkegaard and Bishop Irenaeus. Music was similarly mellow: guitars and mixed voices, with me backing up the bass section. This was followed by much conversation among cousins, with the consumption of large quantities of goto, lengua, lechon, jamon, and ensaymada.
Tonight, the same clan, along with other branches of the Ordoveza family, all come over to our home here in Greenhills for a Christmas Night Dinner. Even this moment a maid is setting up the chocolate fondue fountain. I know it’s Christmas morning for you folks in the U.S., so a Merry Christmas to you all. I hope that the Chrismanukkawanzaajj Fairy brings you everything you asked him for. Here’s a photo of our Christmas tree: