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IMPULSES | Christmas beyond the surface

By Herman M. Lagon

BENEATH the shimmering lights, sumptuous food, joyous carols, and colorful festivities of Christmas lies an aspect that needs to be more visible and often neglected. This season not only brings cheer but also invites us to delve into this holiday’s profound and unvarnished origins, contemplating its true essence.

The conventional portrayal of Christmas, resplendent with grandeur and warmth, tends to eclipse the raw truth of its inception. Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:7 does not present an opulent scene but one marked by modesty and adversity: “Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and placed him in a manger because no guest room was available for them.” This narrative starkly contrasts the polished images we are accustomed to, confronting us with the reality that Jesus entered the world in poverty, far from the comforts we associate with our contemporary festive celebrations.

This discrepancy between the scriptural narrative and modern-day festivities reveals a profound disconnection from the genuine circumstances of Jesus’ birth—an austere reality rarely acknowledged amidst our lavish decorations and revelries. This challenges us to discern divinity within this perceived plainness. It encourages us to seek meaning and beauty not in the holiday’s commercialization but in its potential to deepen our understanding and empathy toward the struggles of others.

Contemplating the true Christmas story reminds us of the persistent challenges the impoverished and marginalized face. Mirroring Jesus’ birth into poverty, many continue to endure discrimination, marginalization, and neglect today. The narrative of Christmas is thus more than a cause for celebration; it is a call to extend our compassion and support to those enduring similar adversities as the Holy Family once did.

Consequently, the essence of Christmas might be found not in its external trappings and festivities but in a deeper, more introspective transformation. It is a period for self-reflection and for embracing our frailties and shortcomings. The paradox of a mighty God born in the humblest of environments is a poignant metaphor for our lives, suggesting that our hidden, less favorable aspects can evolve into personal growth and resilience opportunities.

Therefore, in its most profound interpretation, the blight of Christmas should be embraced rather than avoided. It calls for a celebration that transcends the superficial, touching the very core of our humanity. It offers a chance to connect with the heart of the Christmas story—a tale of humility, hope, and God’s unwavering devotion to all, especially the least fortunate.

Christmas, in its most complete sense, is a period of significant spiritual reflection. It beckons us to look past the festive facade to appreciate beauty in simplicity and find strength in our vulnerabilities. It is a time to remember that the most profound joys often stem not from material wealth but from the love, kindness, and compassion we share.

AS we embrace the holiday season, let us also fully acknowledge the Christmas story’s complexity and depth. May it inspire us to lead richer lives filled with deeper love and humility, not just during this season but throughout all our days.


Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.



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