Monday, December 6, 2010

The Conversation

Jesus: It's that time of year again and you know what? I envy you.

Santa Claus: My Lord, what do you mean you envy me?

Jesus: Well, you know that Christmas is approaching. I just find it strange that people anticipate more your coming than mine.

It was a short text message that went around and then during last Sunday's mass, the priest was preaching about advent and how much of Christmas was mired in commercialism.

In the Philippines, the Filipinos seem to have this yearly tradition of having to begin celebrating the onset of the Christmas Holidays as early as September - the official month when the months of the year hit the suffix "-ber".

Of course, you have to hand it to media and the moguls that run the media (who also own probably a mall or two) to rub it in. Sink in the message. Christmas is around the bend.

So all the tiangges, bazaars, bingos, and other entrepeneural skills that one is able to dish out comes to life!

But I agree. So much commercialism has gone into the Christmas holidays, most especially in the Philippines, where the frenzy goes into dizzying proportions as December approaches. Pinoys living in the Philippines look forward to the longest holiday fever, matched with the 13th month pay, and hopefully, a little Christmas Bonus or two from their workplace. Then there's the Christmas parties left and right, Christmas exchange gifts, Kris Kringle in the office, the postman who knocks on your door shoving an envelope (as if it were a necessity to have to give money for the work he gets paid to do) or the street urchin who jingles and jangles a can or two singing acapela some local Christmas song, or the godchildren who necessarily have to flock to the house of their godparents asking for a Christmas gift (take note of the work "asking" because it's a literal translation of the Filipino word "namamasko", which means "to ask for Christmas gift").

And with the malls, and streets and alleys, and trees and houses and my pooches' house all decked with lights, glitters and Christmas balls...or even the fake Santa Claus that sits in the mall wishing good will to all...I cannot help but actually agree with Fr. Gerard that so much commercialism has gone into Christmas. It is visibly palpable - newspapers advertising an iPad as the perfect gift or a trip to Disneyland or having dinner under the stars in Boracay...whatever your budget is, there will be a material gift that will be available in exchange.

I am no Scrooge. I guess we just need to reorient ourselves on what really all the preparation for Christmas is about. Is it about the birth of Jesus our savior or is it simply the materialism that surrounds us?

What is ironic is how we raise our children to so much materialism and commercialism that they forget that Christmas is not about Santa Claus. But why do we rather make them believe this, than believe in the miracles that the season brings?

[Images from and]

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