Thursday, September 22, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

   September is the ninth month of the year, the prelude of the "Ber" months, the time when most of us in the Philippines set our clocks ticking for a 100-day countdown. At this too early stage, we start putting up vibrant decors with hues of red and green in our homes--not to forget, among others, the traditional Christmas trees of varying sizes, twinkling lights, mistletoes and Santa's socks. A Christmas tree, for some of us, doesn't have to be grandeur as it will cost thousands of pesos believing we can always come up with an innovative idea. When I was young, my mother created a Christmas tree from drinking straws and taught us how to fold one to create a flower and join several cut-outs to form a branch. She combined the pieces altogether and embellished the resulting tree with blinking lights. It was incredible! As a child, I imagined the bells and chimes in my head as I frantically waited for exact midnight to scamper towards the Christmas tree to open my presents. I eventually found out that the boxes were just made of air, nothing but a symbolism.

   The notion that September is the beginning of the Christmas season is blatantly untrue. As a matter of fact, the official celebration based on the Catholic calendar starts on the 25th of December and ends on a Sunday between January 2 and January 8 during the Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings (Wise Men, more aptly). But why does the Filipino celebration of Christmas commence three months away? I don't have an exact answer for it; nonetheless, I don't have a problem accepting this, do you?

   For me, Christmas is timeless. December 25 is but a date set by the Catholic church to formally kick off the celebration and it could be any time of the year. Perhaps, the Filipinos' perky and festive attitude is the reason why we are quite eager in anticipating the Christmas season. We always want to celebrate and be happy all the time. We are family-oriented and Christmas is the only time of the year when we can mostly reunite with our family and loved ones. One should never forget that the message of Christmas is all about sharing our blessings, not only with special people but most especially with those who are poor and despairing--even with those who are unlovable. It is also about forgiving those who have done you wrong and showing sincerity and appreciation to those who have done you a favor but whom you have not reciprocated. Most of all, may we always remember the main reason why we have this celebration and it is the birth of Jesus Christ, the best gift we have ever received long before we were born. 

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