Sunday, November 20, 2011

The least, the lost and the last

I was putting up the Christmas tree this morning and thought about blogging the holiday season. With all the work that's been swamping me, it took me awhile to get into the mood of putting up the lights and ornaments.

I will veer away from the political and showbiz scenario that's been driving the Filipinos into a frenzy from the momentum of Christmas.

The TV stations have their jingling cheers, the Ayala triangle has all the lanterns adorning the warm humid air, the tiangges (a.k.a. bazaars) are back with the holiday sales and midnight madness, the malls are decked in garlands and sparkling glory, and Santa Claus is in warm and humid Manila! While I have nothing against all the festive preparation, I cannot help but wonder why we're all mired in this commercialism.

I guess the main reason why many of us, adults and children alike, look forward to the Christmas season is the bonus and 13th month pay, the exchange gifts and the toys to open on Christmas day, the feeding frenzy of parties and the wild abandon of using the holiday season in order in to indulge in gluttony. Some say that it's that "once a year" that good tidings and cheers are shared by all because of Christmas. And that's what saddens me - that the meaning of Christmas gets lost in the material celebration and the commercialism that has gone into creating an artificial sense of "joy to the world" among people.

I've always been a believer that everyday should be Christmas day. Every day should be a new year - turning new leaves in the chapters of our lives. Every day should be Valentine's day - celebrating the true meaning of love found. Every day should be mother's, father's or grandparent's day - giving due respect to those who matter most. Every day should be your last and that doing good should not be reserved for an occasion and that an occasion should only serve as a reminder that our doing good is worth the celebration.

To most of us who have more "blessings" in life - a roof over our heads, food on our table, people to love and care for us, a family to celebrate occasions with, a good and fulfilling job that provides us with the comfort of life and health - every occasion becomes a vibrant celebration.

But there are those who celebrate Christmas in make shift homes under a bridge or children who wander in the streets on a rainy Christmas day selling sampaguita and singing some carol of good cheer or those who are abandoned by parents or children who wake up each morning hoping that someone would make each day a Christmas day or better yet, a better day for them. Those who are terminally ill and would probably see this as their last Christmas season.

The needy, the hungry, the sick, the thirsty.

We don't really care much for them because we get mired in the thwarted true meaning of Christmas from all the commercialism that's been shoved into our throats. Somehow, somewhere, the meaning of Christmas has become tiring and routine that each year, that many of us have become callous in finding the real meaning of the holiday season. We reason out that because we work hard year in and year out we need to get "rewarded" at the end of the year for all that hard work.

Has business really slapped us in the face and made us look at Christmas in a different way?

Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" sends home the true message of Christmas even in modern times - the way that we should truly celebrate. In the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, we see the lives of people who come and go our way. It's changing our lives in the spirit of doing good and sharing with those who need us most that matters. It's that life changing experience of having done something that cannot be repaid in material values but also in sharing goodness to others that makes the spirit of Christmas come alive.

Each year, instead of buying trinkets and gifts to my friends, I simply donate the money to a foundation or a charitable institution that will create an impact on the lives of others. And I sign the gift in their name. And that my "grown up Christmas wish list" would be that some day, somehow, the blessings I have received in my lifetime would have been shared well with the least, the lost and the last.

Wouldn't it be a greater joy if we all paid it forward?

Happy holidays my readers!

[My all time favorite Christmas song - My Grown Up Christmas List by Kelly Clarkson]

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