Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas – 1/3

The times are bad and the future is dark. The Country is stagnant and millions of Filipinos are suffering from hunger and uncertainty. The local and national problems are not only multiplying but also worsening. The quest for justice and peace remains elusive and the imperative of socio-economic development is far from being seriously attended, much less realistically pursued. The Philippines nevertheless continuous to have one singular blessing: The Filipinos who keep the faith, live with hope, believe in love – especially so during Christmas.

This is the primary reason why notwithstanding all arguments to the contrary, the Philippines is rather known for having the longest Christmas Season in the world. This is also why the Filipinos – creative and ingenious as they are – successfully combine their own native Christian heritage with many elements of imported Christmas symbols and practices. And the over-all result is rather curious and endearing at the same time: The Nativity Scene and Santa Clause seen in Churches and big stores alike, the symbolic star of Bethlehem hanging by house windows plus Christmas Trees standing here and there. This is not to mention the many versions of both native and foreign Christmas songs that are repeatedly heard from September to January every year.

Thank God there is Christmas! It is a time for people to renew their belief in the transcendent and supra-natural. It is also an opportunity for people to laugh and sign – all distressing and exasperating local and national circumstances to the contrary. No, it is not really a time to engage in escapism but days to savor optimism. It is the season that moves people to raise their mind and spirit above their tiring daily routine. While there are indeed many lamentations in their life here and now, they are nevertheless reminded of the promising hereafter and beyond.

Thank God there is Christmas! It is an occasion for people to nurture hope in times ahead as heralded by the joy and good will brought about by the Christmas season. Never mind if the realities of poverty and misery accompany a good number of Filipinos. Reason: There is always hope in the days ahead. Otherwise, they would be truly lost and pathetic if they nurture and wallow in hopelessness and despair. It is the joy and delight brought about by Christmas that eloquently tells them that not everything is lost, all arguments to the contrary notwithstanding.

Thank God there is Christmas! It is an opportunity to be both aware and convinced that most people still subscribe to and practice love of others. The truth is that there are but relatively few individuals who case havoc in society, in the Country. There are the few individuals who live in evil and thrive in vices – and who thereby make people in general both sad and afraid. It is during the Christmas season in particular that prove the goodness and kindness of people to one another. It is the marked time of sharing, of loving and serving others.