My parents and I only celebrate Christmas by attending mass together, ever since my sister passed away in 2003. (No picture shown of us. My parents dislike taking a picture of 3 people as mere superstition.)
During this year's Christmas Eve mass, I calmly listened to the homily given by the priest.
"A little girl gave a present (gift) to her father," the priest said. "The father opened the gift. Surprisingly, it was empty. The little girl told her father that I blew many kisses into it. This is all for you, Daddy."
Christmas is not all about "presents." Instead, it is more about your "presence."
After Christmas Eve mass, I spent time with my good friend and his family.
On Christmas Day, I came back to visit him and his family.
Picture shown of me and a few of his family members.
Later in the afternoon, I picked up (another) good friend's father along with his wife to a hotel in San Francisco. (They celebrated his birthday, and their Christmas at SF.) We ate dinner at his house.
Video shown below.
Again, I have come to realize that it is our "presence" in the moment, not exchanging "presents."
My dad once told me about my bonding relationship with my two good friends, and especially their families, "Son, you are a good man. You have people who care about you. I did not have this."
I answered, "You joined the US military to start a new life at 18 years old. You escaped from a poor life in the Philippines. If it weren't for you and mom, I would not have been here."
The past is remembered.
Most importantly, enjoy your "presence" with others, not "presents" (unless you want to).
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.
When I was growing up, I always enjoyed watching my favorite NBA player, Kobe Bryant.
Last night, we celebrated his jersey retirement ceremony.
The Los Angeles Lakers retired both of his jersey numbers, 8 (wore it from 1997-2006) and 24 (from 2006-2015).
Kobe retired at the end of 2015-2016 season. He is a 5-time NBA champion, and 18-time NBA All-Star.
In NBA history, Kobe and Dirk Nowitzki (of the Dallas Mavericks) are the only players to play for one single team for 20 years. (I believe they will be the last.)
Time flies. You already know.
Video shown below of Kobe's heartwarming speech at Warriors-Lakers halftime.
He improvised. (Not too long speech, not too short. Just right.)
During his speech, he acknowledged the past, present, and the future of the NBA. He gave full credit to the NBA hall-of-famers ahead of him, or else he would not end up being here. He was truly inspired. He was also grateful for the fans, media, and especially, his family. (The past is remembered.)
He ended his speech with words of wisdom to his daughters.
"Those times when you don't feel like working. You're too tired, you don't want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That's the dream. It's not the destination, it's the journey. And if you guys understand that, then what you'll see is you won't accomplish your dreams. Your dreams won't come true. Something greater will, and if you guys can understand that, then I'm doing my job as a father."
I hear gossips.
He has posted weird pictures, videos, and statuses on his social media. (Even myself, everybody has their own type of weirdness, at least. That is his.) Somebody told me, "He is gay."
This guy likes this girl. Now, she is taken. This guy has met her boyfriend once. He completely makes fun of her boyfriend as a shy, weird guy.
Somebody speculated about the North Bay Wildfires. He told me, "An Asian mafia gang started the fire. They get paid to do it. This gang has been going on since the 1970s."