“And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid, for behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
in the Philippines, we celebrate Christmas the longest. as early as September, we would not be surprised to hear Christmas carols and see lanterns hang on front windows. amazingly, everyone tries to complete that Christmas list and constantly makes update from time to time. soon as bonuses and cash gifts are received, off they go to night markets and malls to avoid that Christmas rush. but time is never enough, that even on Christmas eve, some are still running to purchase that last pack of spaghetti and can of fruit salad. oooops! only to be reminded, they still have to find that oh so affordable pear-shaped ham; if they are still available.
indeed, the holiday season is never that stressful, hypertensive yet exciting and fun than that of a Pinoy Christmas. as cash runs out as fast as Santa’s sleigh reaches every chimney from the north pole (as we imagined when we were younger), we do get tired too. it is during this slow-down episodes, that we tend to ponder what the ga-ga was really all about. and we find ourselves going back to what Christmas really means.
it is not about money.
it is not about that tree, nor rice lights and lanterns.
it is not about the spaghetti…
nor the fruit salad, the ham or the lechon.
it is not about who will keep us warm.
indeed, it is never about us.
so what if we don’t have money?
or colorful trees and sparkling rice lights or star-shaped lanterns?
so what if we don’t have spaghetti, fruit salad, ham or lechon?
so what if there is nobody to hug us and keep us warm? we will only be teased as part of SMP or Samahan ng Malalamig ang Pasko (a group of people who will have a chilly holiday because they are single).
yes, i know it’s mind-boggling to ever imagine having to spend Christmas without any or all of the above. but think of it this way. at times when we are reduced to zero (as in nada, nil, kaput…in tagalog “walang-wala”, “said”, “ubos”, “limas”), the Lord is gearing up for our replenishment. He empties us, to fill us up again. and it is all because of love. that is exactly why Jesus was born – to empty himself out for us to gain the fullness of salvation. and that my friends, would not have been possible, if the first Christmas did not ever take place.
Christmas is all about Jesus. if we could imagine vividly how he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in his manger, we can almost feel how warm and cozy baby Jesus must have felt when he was born. Joseph and Mary were not rich. there was no Christmas tree in the stable, but there came the wise men Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar, and so did the shepherds. there were no fancy lights, but there was a bright star in the sky that was able to guide everyone to Bethlehem. definitely no spaghetti, fruit salad, ham or lechon. there were no parties but the angels kept on singing. if we truly find in our hearts the essence of Christmas which is LOVE, we will never again be part of SMP, ever. so be still everyone, warm up and just love one another.
afterall, JESUS is the reason we celebrate Christmas. no more, no less…