A plain and simple lantern with five rays originating from its center, humbly lighted with a plain little bulb, hanging by the window of a small house – this is the honest-to-goodness most profound symbol and consequent highly treasured reality of Christmas proclaiming to the world the humble Birth of Christ in a little manger, cared for by His Mother Mary both of whom were attended to by Joseph, their appointed guardian, the three of whom made the one and only Holy Family since then and the times yet to come.
The parol symbolizes the plain but distinguished star that guided the way and pointed to the Wise Men where to find the Baby Jesus after His Birth. It was not really easy to find Him because His Birthplace was but in a tiny hidden and unexpected place. He is the Son of God the Creator of the universe and the Redeemer of humanity. Yet He was not even allowed entrance in a small and common inn. So it was that in a manger He was born. And there He was found by the said magi from the East.
The parol that led the Wise Men to the unexpected birthplace of Christ, was accompanied by the angels singing their songs of joy and praise. As the songs of the Angels awaken the Shepherds, these were also led by the star to the birthplace of Christ. So it was in that little and lowly manger that the Wise Men found the Baby Jesus laying in a manger and there laid down before Him their gifts while the shepherds joined them in awe and adoration. All these came to pass with the help of the Star of Bethlehem.
The parol – plain in form and simple in décor, hung at a similar plain and simple house – in effect says and affirms that Christ is there, joining and staying with the likewise plain and simple family thereat residing. Strange but true: The humble-looking star form lantern in effect proclaims the plain yet profound message that it is in fact the exaltation of the Holy Family joining the poor and humble family there in their poor and little house residing. No wonder then that Christmas unites the family particularly in terms of their “Noche Buena” no matter how meager and cheap this be.
No. This is not meant to say that lavish and expensive Christmas decors are out of order. Neither does it say that huge, intricate and expensive Christmas lanterns are altogether irrelevant. Nor is it intended to say that even Christmas trees with all its many colored and blinking lights are bad. In fact, even Santa Claus with his reindeers – supposedly led by one with a red nose – is not taboo. But yes, all the previously mentioned particulars of an uncomplicated and modest parol are but intended to remind people that in the last analysis: Christmas marks the birth of Christ the Redeemer. Christmas means that humanity has the big potentials of leading good and exemplary lives here and now. Christmas says that people of all races, colors and tongues have the realistic possibility of deserving enchanting lives hereafter and beyond.
Thank God there is Christmas! Thank man for the parol! Thank God there is a time for people to show mercy and compassion!