With family celebrations all but over and the blowing of holiday wishes to friends and acquaintances done, there’s this natural tendency to look back at all that has happened in one’s life throughout the year. Immediately after, there is a shift somewhat where a void exists.
It is that poignant lull after all the noise and revelry have died which dictates we gaze beyond our comfortable borders of existence and remember there are other realities out there in the world. Realities that are not merry at all.
For a start, we need not look far. Indigenous people (whom we like to call our lumad brothers and sisters) from the hinterlands come down to spread Christmas cheer. At least that’s how some like to look at it. The reality is, they go from house to house asking for anything we can spare; from used clothing, footwear and coats to a pack of rice or bread. Namamasko, we say. Some approach vehicles on the highways during stop signs, playing their homemade lutes and ask for a few spare coins. Who knows what their Christmases are like?
Be a man for others, my high school eco teacher loves to say, especially at Christmastime. Yet with all the lights and party cheers plus family laughter and class reunions altogether crammed inside a young mind, how else can we think of other things?
A pinoy based in Koln had written earlier, let us not forget the children being massacred in Gaza during this yule time. All in the back of my mind, I thought, whenever I greeted someone. The thing is, is it a Grinch-y thing to be this sober this Christmas? Wow, bummer, a 60s guy might say but then, they’ve all but romanticized Christmas in the trenches of Vietnam at Christmas back then. Isn’t that a bit gross today?
Think of the children, the Koln man says. I look at my grandchildren and great grandies during Christmas dinner and guiltily cringe at the thought of those in the dark nurseries of Gaza.
There’s no right or wrong in this interplay of happy and sad, I think. Reality just dealt us a bad hand. Not pointing fingers, nor shoving opinions down our celebrating throats either. Think what you think, is all.
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