June 2, 2023

Barely has the month of December passed its first week that there are already Christmas parties left and right. I guess, we are back with a vengeance.
The past two years has seen a restriction on the celebration of the Christmas holiday due to the pandemic. We were not allowed to have parties, much more were we allowed to have social gatherings. In a sense, the past two Christmases were dry. It lost its meaning and we were not able to enjoy properly.
This year, all restrictions are lifted. Though the advisories that we must maintain social distancing, wear mask in crowded places and observe all health protocols remain to be in place, the prohibition against social gatherings had been totally lifted thereby paving the way for parties and reunions.
But just because the restrictions against social gatherings have been lifted, it does not mean that we can indulge and avoid the moral restrictions that are inherent in our being. Hence, I have come up with a list of five “do’s” and “don’t’s” this holiday. This is my personal guide. You are at liberty to follow it or not.
First, the “don’ts.”

1 . I shall not overeat or overdrink. Everything excessive is bad for the body and for the soul. With so many invitations coming my way, I shall select only the meaningful and wholesome gatherings;

2. I shall not demand for temporal things. With parties come exchange of gifts. This is how we give meaning to the spirit of Christmas. For sure it is fun and exciting to receive a gift. However, this does not provide lasting sa-tisfaction. There are more essential things associated with Christmas than receiving gifts;

3. I shall not make resolutions. Every year during the Christmas season, I make resolutions which, ironically, I cannot keep. When resolutions are broken, it is like making false promises. It creates a lie that is hurtful to me and to my loved ones. Instead of making resolutions, I ought to pray instead;

4. I shall not over-extend my expectations. During the Christmas season, I expect so much from my friends and relatives. I expect them to spend most of their time with me. And, when my expectations fall short, I get frustrated and started hating them;

5. I shall not make promises. Too often, I make promises that are impossible to fulfill. For instance, I promise my children better clothes but come Christmastime, there is none due to lack of budget.
I promise my staff better financial packages yet, come Christmas, there is none. By making promises that are hard to fulfill, I frustrate my fellowmen.
Second, the “do’s.”

1. I shall be more considerate of the feelings of others. When I am placed in a position of strength, I have a tendency to be unmindful of the emotion of others. I ought to be more humble and polite in dealing with people, especially the poor and the downtrodden;

2. I shall pray more for world peace. It is said that “prayer changes things.” With all the trouble besetting the world, we need all the prayers that we can get. A little prayer goes a long way.

3. I shall give more than I shall receive. The Bible preaches that “the more you give, the more you receive. However, the giving must be with a pure heart, otherwise, it defeats the purpose of giving. I realized that the more essential way of giving is by giving my time, energy and myself to those who need assistance.

4. I shall lend an ear. Too often, I talk more than I listen. I talk because I want to be the center of attention. Yes, to listen is the essence of caring. It is in listening that I can communicate better and it is in hearing that I can feel the emotion of the person talking to me. I should listen more than I talk. Perhaps, this is the reason why God gave me one mouth and two ears.

5. I shall celebrate Christmas the proper way. Christmas is more spiritual than material. It is a time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Hence, to do justice to His birth, the proper way to glorify Him is to adore Him. Indulging in food and gifts is a blasphemy that removes the true meaning of Christmas.
These are just my thoughts. I pray that it will uplift my soul and allow me to be closer to the Savior. After all, the essence of Christmas is the birth of Christ and the salvation of the world.