Christmas does not only forward sublime truths but also bear practical realities. It is not only a propitious occasion for a big celebration but also a reason for serious reflection. This is not meant to take away the usual joys and delights brought about by Christmas – especially among the Filipinos. This is simply intended to call attention to the deeper significance of certain Christmas practices usually taken for granted by a good number of people – well meaning though they are.
Needless to say, Christmas being a most profound event with likewise most serious implications, quasi interminable as well as unfathomable facts can be readily invoked and ponder about in conjunction therewith. For one thing, it is the origin of a creed that a good portion of humanity subscribes to long since. It is also the mystical seed that launched the Church Herself that accompanied people for more than two thousand years to date. For the moment, it would suffice to give attention to certain relatively simple symbolic Christmas observances among Christian Filipinos in particular.
There is that loud and repeated singing of different Christmas carols anytime of the day any place in the community. Why? The root reason of this common practice is the singular phenomenon narrated in the Good Book that no less than Angels themselves sand to herald the birth of Christ. In fact, it is said that there was “great rejoicing” in the heavens with the advent of Christmas. Singing Christmas carols therefore is more profound that mere singing these and those secular songs.
There is that practice of hanging star lanterns by the windows of houses for people to see and enjoy. Why? The Good Book itself said that a star guided the Wise Men where to go – with the advisory that where the star stops and hovers, is also the place where Christ can be found. A star wherefore pointed to those searching for Jesus where to find Him. When families thus hang star lanterns in their houses, they send the message that no less than Christ is found in their homes by the way their live properly and act correctly.
There is that common observance of old and young people exchanging Christmas gifts. There is also the usual practice of people sharing their blessing with those who practically have none. Foods are sent to prisons. Parties are held in orphanages. Why? The Good Book also said that upon finding the Baby Jesus, the Wise Men brought out their gifts for Him. Christmas gift giving thus has more meaning than the material value it carries.
By the way, those who vehemently protest and loudly denounce the observance of Christmas on 25 December are ridiculously correct. Reason: There was yet no calendar then as we have it now – courtesy of Pope Gregory XIII who studied and composed the “Gregorian Calendar” in the 16th Century that is now observed practically the world over. The month of December is cold. Christ was born in Bethlehem during the cold season. Hence His Birthday was placed in the last week of the cold December.