Thursday, December 23, 2010

We Know It's Christmas

We bring a felled tree or a plastic that resembles a pine tree inside our homes. We wrap it with blinking lights, colored balls, a star or angel on top, and other ornaments. Below the tree are gifts, miniature of the manger where Christ was born with Joseph, Mary, and the three kings.

We put yellow lights around our houses or around a living tree in front of our houses. The surroundings become brighter because of these extra lightings in the neighborhood.

We buy and prepare gifts to be given to special and dear family members, relatives, godsons and goddaughters, and friends.

We receive invitations to parties.

We sing songs that resonate with the gladness and merriment of our hearts.

We go to Masses. In the Philippines, there are nine Masses early in the morning leading to the eve of Christmas.

In all of these, what makes an ordinary tree turn into a decorated one? What makes the lights around the tree and houses starry and sparkling? What makes the gifts different this time of the year? What makes parties special this season? In all of these transformations, Christmas tree, Christmas lights, Christmas gifts, Christmas parties, we remember the CHRIST that was born on this day. 

Notably, many of us would have a simple tree inside their homes, simple lights around their houses, simple gifts given to and/or received from dear ones, and simple parties to socialize and celebrate. It is because they find similar meanings to these as those grand things. 

However, some of us would have none at all of these things. It is not because they could not find and afford tree, lights, gifts and parties; rather it is because they are constrained to have these things shown in public. Christians in Iraq are not going to show any public signs of celebration of Christmas, otherwise they are putting risks on their lives. The insurgents linked to Al-Qaida have threatened Christians for more attacks after the October 31 siege of a Catholic Church where 52 people died. Christians in the country are fleeing to be able to practice what they believe in.

Let us remember this Christmas day our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq and other countries who confront threats and persecutions when practicing their beliefs including the observance and celebration of the birth of Christ. Let us pray for peace to prevail on everyone's heart.

Yes, we know it's Christmas. Not because of a tree, lights, gifts, and parties. We know it's Christmas because we let Christ reign in our hearts who gives us joy and consolation, no matter what.

Merry CHRISTmas to all!

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