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Opinion

Jesus is the reason for the season

AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman -

Christmas Eve is just around the corner and there is still no hint of “Christmas spirit” in our hearts. We are all too preoccupied in decorating our homes, chasing through Christmas bazaars looking for the best sales of the season not to mention the parties. Thousands of vehicles battle their way uptown and downtown, in cantankerous confusion. The result is not just gridlock, but an exasperated snarl that could easily have been avoided with a little bit of kindness and generosity.

We are a nation snarled up in our own peevishness and pettiness. And Christmas, as someone already said, brings out the worst in us.

Our airports are now swarmed with OFWs and balikbayans wanting to be home for Christmas. They all look forward to being with their loved ones. They bring home the dollars (or the euros) that provide economic benefits to their families and consequently to the country. I am always thrilled to see balikbayans visiting the country — it just reassures me that Filipinos abroad miss the Philippines. And to see them around especially during this season is very heartwarming. But it also makes me sad to see the same people flaunting themselves around — too hambog (too boastful) to the point of forgetting their manners. Some balikbayans (I’m not saying all) have a tendency to throw their weight around unmindful of people’s feelings especially the simple folk around them.

The Filipino spirit is all about love, care, compassion, generosity, hospitality and warmth most of which, we fail to experience in other places. Truly, there is no place like home!

Do not forget that it is the simple folk around you who make your stay in this country more comfortable and pleasurable. Once you step out of your home, you are greeted by the street-sweeper with a smile on his face. As you drive to the marketplace the newspaper boy or the cigarette vendor greets you with a cheer along with little children singing a Christmas carol. When you enter the malls, the security guards greet you with respect while the sales ladies graciously assist you offering their help in any way they can. In the restaurants, the waiters extend their services to make you enjoy your meal. In the barber shops or parlors, they give treatments fit for kings and queens. In your own homes friends, family and the household helpers are more than willing to attend to your needs. No matter how much you pay these people – the services rendered are always more than your money’s worth.

We should never forget to be grateful to all the blessings we have. Humbling ourselves will not make us any less of what we’ve become. We must remove the complex of “superiority” which often make us forget to exhibit grace and courtesy to our fellowmen. The problem is that we have not reconciled with our own restless souls, or our tattered and fraying sense of values.

OFWs and balikbayans alike have become an integral part of our national culture. For as long as the country cannot give our people enough employment, we will continue to see more people migrating to other countries. We can only hope that when they come home even just for that rare visit they remain to be Filipinos in their hearts and minds.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against balikbayans. I always have balikbayan relatives and guests in my home. They are a lovable and exciting bunch — never a dull moment. They glory in their success, feel bad for what has become of our country and would always find ways and means to help in their own little way. But again, there are those who forget they are Filipinos. And even if they have the same color of skin, they have forgotten their roots, our heritage, most important, our values. They return as strangers to their homeland. What a pity.

Let us not forget the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season. We must begin to change our ways. We are living in different and difficult times. Whether you are an OFW, a balikbayan or a local – you can make this Christmas a very meaningful one to you, to your family and to your friends.

I wish you joy and spiritual renewal this Christmas! But wishing doesn’t make things happen. My dad wrote poetry and believed in the power of magic before he became a journalist. And then, in the newspaper world’s foxholes and frontlines, he along with his colleagues all ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil. That’s when poetry for him dried up and magic evaporated. Possibly, they were wrong to lose the music but lived for the day hoping and wishing to recapture it.

On a still night, I can yet hear it from afar, and a hint of a better day in the magical movement of the stars, which (if one listens with the heart) can be heard singing.

At midnight, Christmas Eve, it’s possible we can become like children again, and revisit with our souls that moment of gladness. Until then, at the ramparts we watch, disappointed, disheartened and dispirited. Longing for a past that speaks to us sadly: voices talking of honor, rectitude, honesty, courage and delicadeza.

This excerpt by Robert A. Schuller’s Ready for Christmas tells us to prepare our hearts during this Yuletide Season:

Have you noticed how the day after Thanksgiving it’s like someone pulls a trigger and countdown to Christmas begins?

You clean the house from top to bottom. Rearrange furniture to make room for the tree. Check the tree lights before stringing them from top to bottom. Bake all kinds of goodies for a myriad of holiday parties you’re invited to attend. Create our gift list. Check it twice. Make multiple trips to the shopping mall. Shop ‘til you drop. Wrap gifts. And set all kinds of holiday wheels in motion. So now you are ready for Christmas? Not quite!

The most important item on your Christmas “to do” list is to prepare yourself.

If you want Christmas to be a real “God thing,” then take time to prepare your heart and life to receive the Infant King.

AROUND

CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS EVE

GOOD AND EVIL

HOME

INFANT KING

MAKE

ROBERT A

TREE OF KNOWLEDGE

YULETIDE SEASON

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