Freeman Cebu Business

I wish that every day is Christmas day

TRADE FORUM - Chris Malazarte - The Freeman

Christmas is celebrated with many interpretations.

For most of the time, it has something to do with feasting, reunion and shopping. Some say that Christmas is for the children or all about gift-giving. It’s that time of year that we give to the poor or spend time for charity works. Others celebrate Christmas in prayer and in attending church services. Some take it as an invitation to making peace and forgiveness. And they are all good – they are all expressions of our joy as Christians to honor Christ’s appearance in the flesh to redeem a lost mankind.

But it seems that such expression only comes at the end of the year — a one-shot deal. Of course, I am not saying that we have to party all the time even if it’s not Christmas. I believe that if we peel its very meaning, we may be able to see Christmas beyond the merry-making and the cliché to play Santa once a year to kids and the poor. In fact, we need not wait for Christmas for us to be pushed to be generous or prayerful.

The first Christmas was very much different as we see it today. It came at a time when no one knew that the Lord will come. Also in a time when he was unwelcomed. The kind people who were told first that he was here were outcasts – shepherds. He must have appeared to them because shepherds have no place in society – they were slaves or sons of them. The Lord's affection for the lowly is so strong that he had to show up to them first to make an example of himself that we have to change the way we treat those who have less in life. In our society today, it seems that we are only nice to people who are better off than us like our boss or some politician or an accomplished businessman but are indifferent and more often condescending to our househelp, nanny, salesclerk or a security guard.

Unlike today, the first Christmas had no feasting that not even a chestnut was roasted on an open fire. When I was a kid, I always ask my teachers why we had to sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas and yet we also sing the Silent Night. I couldn’t connect why we should have fun and yet it was so silent when the Lord was born.  My teachers had no clear answers to my question but it dawned on me only recently that Christmas is supposed to be celebrated in silent reflection of the simplicity of God’s presence and how we respond to the silence of those who have no voice to raise their most pressing everyday concerns.

You see, we are so engrossed with all the preparations to make the holidays as jovial as we can but we overlook the silence of those who needed the most attention in a time when people are in revelry. Christmas is for those who suffer in silence – the sick, the abused, the abandoned, the hungry, and those who suffer in fear.  We don’t need to be a philanthropist or a politician to meet all these concerns but we have the power to do it one person at a time.

Christmas must not only be appreciated every December 25th. Christmas is an everyday appeal to our conscience and to our sense of compassion that we are willing on any day to give a hand. If only we treat any ordinary day as if it were Christmas, maybe we have had helped more people, forgave many people, and loved more people. This is perhaps the reason why many of the world’s everyday troubles do not go away because we only become good once a year. And my grandest wish every Christmas is a collective realization to make Christmas an everyday event so we don’t have to be reminded to be kind to one another.

In fact, we need not even celebrate Christmas for us to be kind to one another. We only need to live its message every day.

Have a meaningful and blessed Christmas!

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