Embracing the heart of Christmas through Monstrance-inspired Belen

“Christ is the reason and the center of everything why we celebrate Christmas.”

This was the message of the Philippine Army Monstrance-inspired Belen entry in the Grand Non-Municipal Category of the 11thBelenismo sa Tarlac, an annual Belen-making competition in the province of Tarlac organized by Tarlac Heritage Foundation.

“Every Belen tells a story. People’s dreams, their aspirations, their beliefs, their traditions, their customs. It’s the whole community that comes alive,” Tarlac Heritage Foundation Co-Founder Isa Cojuangco Suntay said.

As the Christmas day is nearing, the Philippine Army conveys a significant message and brings holiday spirit to every Tarlaqueño through a vibrant and immaculate Belen that calls our response to assess the definition and embrace the essence of this season.

They make use of a monstrance to draw attention to the importance of the meaning of Christmas, the birth of the child Jesus in a manger. It is a vessel used in Roman Catholic and Angelican Churches as a convenient receipt for the exhibition of an object of piety. This was often used as a cradle of the Blessed Sacrament.

In order to make this Belen vivid and inspiring without spending too much money, the Philippine Army used their simple and available resources which include recycled nativity set statues and costumes, old wooden platforms, used lights, discarded tarpaulins, left over sequins, paints and plywood.

Complemented by beautiful and angelic carols, the Christmas spirit continues to unfold and in vibe with the simplicity of the nativity set statues featuring Mary, Joseph and the Child Jesus.

With the creative concept and hands of the armies of the Mechanized Infantry Division (MID), they were able to serve as an inspiration to remind everyone on the significance of Christmas in our lives.

“The men and women behind this Belen and also the whole Philippine Army wants to convey the message of sacrifice, sharing, service to others, compassion to our fellowmen,” MID Commander Major General Gilbert Gapay shared.

The production team is composed of Production Supervisor Retired Lieutenant General Rolando Bautista and Major General Gilbert Gapay; Designer Ding Mercado; Executive Producer Isa Cojuangco Suntay and twenty-one men and women of MID.

This Belen appeals to us to be firm in putting Christ in the center of everything we do. It also serves to inject His love and compassion in our hearts as we celebrate this yuletide season.

Leading and reminding us on the importance of the clasping of our hands and choosing to celebrate sacrifice, hope, peace, faith and love.

With the monstrance as the cradle of the Blessed Sacrament, it calls us to be holy and embrace the Child Jesus in the manger as our Savior. (CLJD/CJVF-PIA 3)

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