The recent past is disastrous for the people in terms of destructive upheavals of nature, shenanigans of the ruling administration plus the confused and confusing political scenery – not to mention the massacre here and there. The forthcoming future neither appears promising in justice and peace primarily on account of the supposedly national automated national elections pausing so many unanswered questions. What a great blessing wherefore for Christian Philippines to have the forthcoming Christmas Season between the depressing present and scary future! As a kind of simple review and recall, it will be good to once more bring to fore the more common touching spiritual and temporal dimensions of Christmas.
There is God becoming Man for the love and redemption of man. Amazing! It is like someone so formal and proper, yet stooping down to get hold of a baby buried in putrid garbage in order to clean him. Thereafter, He holds and raises him up with joy and pride. And since God then protected and defended him – especially so with regard to his human life, human dignity and human rights. Christmas is not only God becoming Man, but also God ever since standing by the man He saved and still loves so very much even to these difficult days and trying times.
Since then, man continues to gratefully and gleefully remember and celebrate that wonderful day of the birth of hid Savior Jesus Christ. In time of war or peace, during abundance or want, with lavish or humble preparation, in cold and temperate Countries all over the globe, man pauses for a while in order to remember and celebrate Christmas year after year after year. Thus it is that even but for some hours, some days or even months – like in the Philippines – 25 December is one great red-letter day.
Christmas is an occasion to pause and rejoice, to sing songs and crack jokes, to smile and laugh much, to send joyful greetings to relatives and friends - and to eat something from puto to cake, from the proper “Joy to the World” to the funny “Jingle Bells”, they are practically non-stop, specially so as far as the children are concerned.
Christmas carols in different languages with different themes, parols of all kinds and materials, Christmas trees of all sizes and shapes, lights of different shapes and colors, decorations made with various and curious materials – all these and more await and accompany the summit of the long Christmas season in the Philippines: The Simbang Gabi! Nine days of going to Mass together, passing by a little Puto bumbong stall together and together going home. This is not to mention the “Noche Buena” or Buena Noche” which is a special family table gathering – to eat and drink something, to talk and laugh, to exchange gifts if any, and thereby love one another!
Thank God, there is Christmas!
December 11, 2009