January 29, 2023

A MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS IN THIS DIFFICULT TIME

The year 2020 will be remembered because of the series of disasters and misfortune that greatly affected mankind.
No one, after all, wants to remember an event that brought immense suffering to humankind.
This year saw millions of wildlife die due to massive bushfires in Australia, massive calls for the end to racism in the U.S., a deadly explosion at the port of Beirut, a massive earthquake in Turkey, global recession, and the Covid-19 pandemic that changed the course of human history.
Here at home, we faced disaster after disaster – loss of lives and property due to the massive flashfloods and damages to infrastructure in the Bicol Region, Calabarzon, Marikina, Isabela, Cagayan, eruption of the Taal volcano, African swine fever outbreak, unsolved widespread killings of people from all walks of life, red-tagging of progressive and militant groups’ members, and mounting foreign debt are some of the disasters this nation faced in 12 months.
In everything that the nation has gone through, let us not forget that there is still something worth celebrating. As a nation, as a community, as a family, and as individuals, we still have a lot to be thankful for.
During the biblical times when Joseph and Mary were expecting the birth of their first child, they too went through adversities. They only had the bare necessities but gladly welcomed the addition of a new member of their family. Their only guests then were shepherds nearby and the Three Wise Men.
Gift-giving and lavish birthdays as symbols of the birth of the Messiah have become a tradition especially for Christians. The country’s celebration of Christmas stands out from the rest – we have the longest celebration usually involving gatherings with family members and friends.
This year’s Yuletide holidays will be different. With government encouraging that gatherings should be limited to members of the nuclear family, the usual festive atmosphere during Christmas and New Year celebrations will have to be subdued.
But being subdued should not be equated with being gloomy. We can continue celebrating Christmas with less fanfare but with more significance this time. It does not matter if we have less of material things. What matters is we are still with our families physically or virtually.
Amidst our quiet celebration, let us be conscious and protect one another by continuously adhering to health and safety protocols. We must do our part to secure our families and communities from the spread of the virus to give our healthcare frontliners a respite so they can have more time with their families.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the course of human history but it should not change the reason why we are celebrating Christmas – to remember God’s incredible act of love when he gave His only son for humanity.

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