These days, as soon as the year hits the “BER” months you can soon expect to hear Jose Marie Chan crooning his Christmas songs in all the malls and shopping centers and then you get blasted with his “Shopee-pee” ads all over social media accented by Sen. Manny’s “Ilibin-Ilibin” ones.
Big business has turned Christmas from the “Season for Giving” to the “Season for Spending” and we have, wittingly or unwittingly, gone along for the ride. Just to be clear about it, yes, there is a big difference.
Christmas used to be, and should be, about people and not about things. It’s about families, friends and loved ones celebrating life and love together in Christian fellowship. Christians are supposed to be joyful in remembering birth of Jesus Christ and the love that made God assume manhood to save us from our sins and not in expectation of all the gifts and bonuses we will be receiving. It is this most beautiful expression of love that we are supposed to be paying forward during this season.
When we say that Christmas is the Season for Giving, it is supposed to mean “Giving of Ourselves”, sharing our love for others more than usual and the tradition of giving gifts is only supposed to be an expression of this.
Not to be the Grinch trying to suck away the happiness of the season, what I am trying to say is that maybe we can take a step back, examine our intentions and, hopefully, realize that we can express the Christmas spirit in more meaningful ways by giving of ourselves, our love and what we can share to those in our community who most need it.
In writing this article, I could not help but remember the late Atty. Timothy “Atim” Te and what he called the “Noche Buena Foundation”. He raised and put up funds for the preparation of hundreds of gift baskets containing various groceries, rice and a “lechon manok” which volunteers would distribute in the depressed areas of Davao City on December 24, the day before Christmas with the simple intention of enabling families that would, otherwise, have just passed that night as an ordinary evening, to have a “Noche Buena” together.
Having been one of the many volunteers for this so many years ago, I still cannot forget the love and, sometimes, tearful joy that this brought for the recipients.
If all of us, in whatever small way we can, share our love and blessings to those who most need joy and hope in our own circles and communities, I believe that this is a much more meaningful way of giving life to the Spirit of Christmas, of paying Christ’s love forward.
Ironically, Jose Marie Chan’s own lyrics reminds us in singing…
“In every prayer and every song,
The community unites, celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus Christ,
Let love like that starlight on that first Christmas morn,
Lead us back to the manger where Christ the child was born”
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