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Jose Mari Chan’s Legacy: Christ(mas) will always be in our hearts

by Josiah Ramuel Narca

It’s that time of the year again when Jose Mari Chan memes would flood the internet and malls would start playing his iconic 1990 composition, “Christmas in Our Hearts”, signaling the start of the Christmas season in the Philippines. This has earned him the title “Father of Philippine Christmas Music.”

The “Father of Philippine Christmas Music” | photo by Sonny Thakur

Who is Jose Mari Chan

Born in Iloilo City on March 11, 1945, he is the firstborn of a Chinese immigrant Antonio Chan and a Chinese-Filipina Florencia Lim. Jose Mari or “Joe” started writing songs at the early age of 13 and eventually appeared on Philippine TV as host and singer of ABS-CBN’s 9 Teeners.

From then on, his music career flourished. He even represented the country in the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo with his entry “Can We Just Stop and and Talk Awhile”. Soon after he also released songs which also became very popular such as Beautiful Girl, Please Be Careful With My Heart and Perfect Christmas.

The Real Meaning of Christmas

Over the years, his song “Chritmas in our Hearts” made us realize that Christmas is not only a particular day to celebrate but a way of life to practice every day. Let us reflect on the following lines of the song:

“In every prayer and every song, the community unites.

Celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Christmas does not only mean spending money, giving material gifts, and attending parties. It is also about offering prayers to people facing challenges in life and hoping that they get through these adversities. In this way, we become blessings to others, uplifting burdens and pointing them to God, our Savior. A gift of music is good for the soul and so is prayer.

“Let love, like that starlight, on that first Christmas morn

Lead us back to the manger, where Christ the child was born.”

According to the biblical story, three wise men named Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar followed the star of Bethlemen to find the birthplace of Baby Jesus. It is a beautiful reminder that God, indeed, is our light. At the height of the pandemic, there were moments when we felt afraid due to uncertainties. However, Christmas points out that following Christ will give us peace.

To follow Christ is to have faith in Him – that everything is under His control. Let us trust him. Everything is going to be alright. Let go. Let God.

“So, come let us rejoice.

Come and sing a Christmas carol.

With one big joyful voice.

Proclaim the name of the Lord.”

Our lives were affected by the pandemic but we still experience accomplishments and triumphs. Why? Because God continuously gives us strength and wisdom to succeed. This is why in everything that we do, we must make sure that these actions glorify Him. Helping our brethren and others in need reflects His character among us. Therefore, let us do everything for God and for the common good.

“May the spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts.”

As the celebration of Christmas Day draws near, may we appreciate all our blessings. Though we are still living in challenging times, there are a lot of things to be grateful for. And whenever you are being disheartened by some circumstances, always remember what Mr. Jose Mari Chan’s song reminds: that Christ is in our hearts.

Let us continue to pray for one another, to follow Christ and to glorify Him all our lives.

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