Artistic Director of Repertory Philippines

“Mom, do we have a star? I need it for a shoot.” Me, to my Mom, first week of December.

Back story: When Dad was around, Mom used to really go to town with our Christmas tree. It would already be up by late October early November and would come down (with a tug of sweet reluctance) first quarter of the next year, one time by March yet. I know.

The tree was always so pretty, our eyes resting easy on its beautiful ornaments and verdant branches. We loved all the festive trappings and trimmings of Christmas. All the lights bells and whistles. It was always exuberantly Christmas-y at home. And even as an adult, I had always felt like a kid at Christmas.

When Dad went ahead to Heaven, a shift. A poignant shift. Christmas altogether became more sweetly introspective. Not sad. Just introspective. Quiet, like a whispered prayer, like a heartbeat beating steady steadfast and true, with a deep light. I embrace the now-familiar feeling with clarity and candor. Did I suddenly grow up?

Mom still lovingly puts up her beautiful Christmas lights and lovely Christmas decor to warm each corner of our home with love. But now, no Christmas tree.

So, when I asked for a star (which would normally have been perched ontop of our tree), I was thinking uh-oh it might be in storage. And I would have to dig through boxes to find it.

But late that evening first week of December, in preps for Repertory Philippines’ first foray into a live shoot, I ask: “Mom, do we have a star? I need it for a shoot.” She sweetly replies “Yes!” And she proceeds to sift through a Christmas project she is working on, and walks over to me, holding in her dainty hand what looks to me like the prettiest star. “Mom! OMG! It’s the REP colors! It’s PERFECT! Where did you get this?” Mom: “I made it.” Me: “WHAT??? You made this? OMG I love it! It’s so beautiful!” She told me she had made it many Christmases back, a Christmas project made with love. Love, plus glue and glitters. I look at this star, cradled in my hands–a quiet introspective capiz star with gilded metal and laced with red and gold glitter. And in my eyes, it is precious and perfect and pure.

That very night, I packed it up (with great care) for the shoot. I guarded it with my life all throughout the shoot because it was so fragile. Fragile, and yet so eternal.

I recount this little personal story of a very special Christmas star as I look forward to catch a sighting of the Star of Bethlehem phenomenon later today. Not quite sure what to expect as I look up at the night sky, but I know it’s going to be very special. And harking back to, and reminiscent of, what the wise men and shepherds might have seen in the sky eons ago, leading them to the humble manger where our Lord Jesus was born.

Oh, and another very special thing happening later: We launch our Repertory Philippines Christmas REPisode, a message of hope, a message of light. You’ll see this sweet Christmas star make a tiny cameo. And just as this star is filled with love and remembering, may your Christmas be one of love and remembering too. Yes, 2020 may not have been the best year ever, but for me, in a deep way, it was filled with love and remembering, and it has strengthened and clarified what is true, and what is light.