Good tidings in September
Poinsettias, harbingers of Christmas with their vivid red colors, and star-shaped blooms or bracts, start to awaken from their long slumber usually in September, for they only bloom near the holiday season.
Michael Varcas
Good tidings in September
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - September 4, 2020 - 12:00am

You can get your hopes up in September.

And why not? Every new hour, every new day,  every new month especially in the midst of this lingering pandemic is a cause for celebration.

So, why not in the first of the so called “ber” months when the hopes and joy of Christmas, whether spiritual, psychological or cultural are seen like a bright star twinkling in the dark yonder? Not near, but near enough.

Poinsettias, harbingers of Christmas with their vivid red colors, start to awaken from their long slumber, for they only bloom near the holiday season.

In September, the scents of Christmas are wafting into your home like the scent of your neighbor’s adobo, or of pine trees in Baguio when you open your windows in the morning, or in my case, my mother’s Apple Pie baking in the oven. Even with your eyes closed, you know it’s near. Without seeing, touching, feeling or tasting it yet.

September is also literally a month for celebrations — birthday celebrations. Many babies are born in September because — well, you do the math. According to Reader’s Digest, real birth data compiled from 20 years of American births show that mid-September is the most birthday-packed time of the year. I don’t think it’s any different in the Philippines, with an OB-Gyne once telling me that in September, the delivery room is filled to capacity with expectant moms.

So, in a month studded with birthdays, how can one not be joyous and grateful, and not let one’s hopes soar like a balloon let loose on a clear day?

In countries with four seasons, September signals the end of the blistering summer, a respite from the heat. September is a soothing cool shade from the garish sun, and may it be the soothing cool shade after six months of battling this pandemic. May September also be a respite from the scorching pain COVID-19 has wrought on many lives.

In tropical countries like ours, September is the beginning of more temperate days, a gentler sun, less rainy days, less floods (hope I don’t speak too soon). In September, we have shorter days and longer, more restful nights for us to see the stars.

***

They say, with much basis, that the longest Christmas celebration takes place in the Philippines — with the celebration starting September. People have welcomed Jose Mari Chan into their homes — he whose melodious Christmas carols bring not only joy but hope to our airwaves and into the airwaves of our soul, filling it with good tidings.

“September is the Month of Remember,” Jose Mari Chan tells me in an interview by e-mail. “Especially in this time of the unprecedented pandemic, we should remember the things we often took for granted back in the old normal.”

“‘September is the month of Remember,’ especially with LOVE. Let us remember to LOVE deeply and passionately. Don’t hesitate to express our LOVE to our family today. To our parents and grandparents. To our children and grandchildren. We may not have the chance to do so tomorrow.

“LIFE is brief. Let us remember that, as Shakespeare said, ‘Life is but a walking shadow. A poor player that struts and frets upon this stage, is gone and soon is heard no more.’ And as one of my songs goes, ‘We’re all like clouds that move across the skies...’

“Let us readily remember to forgive those who may have wronged us. Every little kindness that we do goes a long way so don’t forget to remember our acts of kindness and generosity of spirit. Be thankful for the kindnesses we received from others.”

***

The economy, according to hardworking Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, shows hope, too. “We hope to see the economy bouncing back, with more companies especially MSMEs reopening and workers getting back to their jobs or finding new jobs or businesses. This means more Filipinos having the means to enjoy Christmas; and that we are able to see this while our active COVID-19 cases go down and more Filipinos stay healthy. With minimum health protocol as our new way of living, we hope we all could still be with our loved ones this Christmas.”

SM’s senior vice president for retail Millie Dizon is upbeat as well, though, “September would mark the sixth month since the pandemic changed our lives forever. It seems like a lifetime ago, and we know things will never be the same again.”

But like her smile, Millie’s optimism is equally infectious.

“While things may be uncertain, it is certain that with all crises come great opportunities. Opportunities to celebrate what is important in life, strengthen relationships and be grateful for what we have. Opportunities to become better persons, improve ourselves, think differently, learn to innovate, and manage the situation. And of course, more opportunities to serve and help others.

“In retail, September is the start of the Christmas season, which is the busiest and happiest time of the year. It’s also a time to be hopeful that with hard work and God’s grace we will all have a Merry Christmas.”

***

And for Marian devotees, the month of September is unique, according to Fr. Dennis Paez, “In that it has not one but three feasts in honor of our beloved Mother: Sept. 8, Sept. 12, Sept. 25.”

Father Dennis elaborates, “(Mary’s) birthday on Sept. 8 confirms to us that she is truly present in our lives as a precious gift of the Holy Trinity to mankind. Her holy name on Sept. 12  assures us that the presence of MARIA (mare is sea in Latin) is powerful and vast as the Holy Trinity willed it. Her sorrowful Immaculate Heart on Sept. 15 convinces us that the tears of our beloved mother on behalf of us her sinful children is something the Holy Trinity cannot resist.

Father Dennis adds, “So yes, this month, at this time of insecurity and fears, is a proof to us that when times are tough, our Blessed Mother is tougher. Let us enter into the safety of her ark because she said: ‘Am I not your mother? Are you not always in the folds of my lap’?”

***

Christmas is the birthday of our Redeemer. September is the threshold to that celebration, a time to hope that just as soon will come mankind’s redemption from the pandemic.

(You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

SEPTEMBER
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