Freeman Cebu Business

Celebrating Christmas in the new normal

BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Romelinda Garces - The Freeman

In 2020, Halloween decorations were skipped as Christmas adornments were put up early to buff up some cheer in the weary environment that dripped of anxiety at the longest, worldwide pandemic that has shaken not just the economy, but the morale of life itself.

Last year Christmas was pushed forward to lift the ailing spirit of humanity after the grueling ordeal of hedging the continuing lick of COVID 19 that never ceased to take various shapes in mutation. Hope was resuscitated with the outcropping of the early glint of Christmas.

Then, typhoon Odette washed away all optimism by literally snuffing out the lights in most of Metro Cebu and the areas where the skirts of its wrath took off roofs, houses even, and devastated crops that could have fed both the farmers and the rest of the Filipinos.

At home, we met both Christmas and new year with a cup of coco and pan de sal.  Spicing the eve of new year a bit with some twists of spaghetti in candle-lit dining. With everything mainly simplified by COVID, Odette’s interruption could have been a clincher to despair. 

But in my heart dwelled gratitude. I was thankful to God for the trees that lost all its leaves and stood desiccated in its defense of our home.

This year, typhoon Paeng badly hit the hillylands of Cebu. Dislodging structures and taking with it some lives. And there is the recent fire that hit Mandaue City, that burnt to the ground the

abode of 700 families more or less. The city is striving now, with the help of its business community to at least provide temporary shelter for the affected so that they could spend Christmas under a roof.

This is what Christmas is about really. The reviving of that core that God has placed to survive and withstand all the calamities that challenge our will. We should not be quelled by the up and down trend of fuel. The rising cost of electricity, the looming increase in our water bill, the clamor of labor for an increase in wages… and the list goes on.

As we balance our books and temper our desires against the truths that confront our business, we recall that in spite of the hard times food was still on the table. Whether it was given or earned. We were able to pass through the gauntlet of pain and in spite of the lashes, our souls were unscathed.

This is our main business. To keep that zest for life and its realities in place. Now in the first day of December, we look forward to a better celebration of Christmas. Of acknowledging the blessings, we received through the lockdowns and storms, and even the painful memories of losing dear ones. This will be the way we revel. Dancing to the Lord in praise for the protection and provision He has given. We will rejoice in the unquenching drive He has planted for us to pick up ourselves and move on. We will celebrate His power in us to prod on and give, even when our businesses are just about to make even. Because He promised in Luke 12:22-30 -- that He will provide. 

Most of all, we will celebrate the deeper relationships we have built as we continue on this road. The unfazed quest to be the bearer of that single stone to build the cathedral along with the other stone-bearers. Because that is what Christmas is for. The new normal brings with it an awareness that it’s not just the gifts under the tree we should be happy about but presence of the source of it all.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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