More so Christmas cannot be cancelled this year

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

THE Yolanda experience has indeed touched and redirected our sensibilities. The Christmas commercial value, which seemed to have been the barometer of a joyous Christmas in the past years, has taken a step back.

The loss of life, limb and property has stirred the deepest recesses of our souls that we now move away from excesses in the expressions and impressions of our love as manifested in the giving of gifts. Many parties of groups, clubs and organizations have been cancelled and the cost of such celebrations has instead been converted to relief goods and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of Yolanda.

Small intimate gatherings are now more precious and ostentatious bashes have been cut to the most minimal.

Giving is the very reason of Christmas. When Christ was born, he left His Father’s right hand in heaven to be born into our humanity. While it was an ordinary life of a carpenter’s Son at first, His mission was directed for a tragic end. Painful but obedient to accept the fate that was bestowed upon Him, the baby that was born in that lowly crib suffered indignities and acute pain in body and spirit and to finally die on that cross. He conquered death, ascended so that heaven’s gate will be opened for all of us. The giving of His life in exchange for us to live a beautiful and glorious life one day with Him in heaven was the reason.

Christmas is the season for us to contemplate deeply why Jesus gave His life so that we too can live the eternal life destined for us after this borrowed existence on earth.

Christmas is the giving of self totally to Christ in imitation of His life. It is expressed in the good things we do. It is in the giving not from our excess but of truly of ourselves. A sacrifice, a smile, a good word, a kind gesture.

Definitely, Christmas cannot be cancelled because kindness and mercy is the very essence of Christ. When we share with what we have and extend that helping Hand, we imitate the goodness and compassion of Christ.

Two hardworking foundations of note that have been tireless in giving are the Negros Volunteers for Change headed by Millie Kilayko and Ana Balcells’ Kalipay.

When Yolanda struck, Millie and her volunteers went to work instantly. Millie started distributing their Mingo meals to children. Being recognized for their devotion to their mission, relief work started with the delivery of a truckload of sardines and before knowing it, more and more donations came. They were able to distribute 30,000 packs covering Bantayan, Leyte, Samar, Iloilo, Cadiz and Sagay.

Now, that the world has come to our aid in relief efforts, NVC is focusing on the distribution of boats to fisherfolk who have lost their means of livelihood from the disaster.

NVC has able to address the needs of fishermen in the Sagay area. Ayala Foundation has given 60 boats in Cadiz and many more donors have surfaced to the fore. In the Negros area, there are only 47 boats now in need of repair.

Panay, however, is another story. There are 10,000 boats needed. NVC is currently validating the numbers.

Kalipay, meanwhile, celebrates Christmas everyday as they continue to rescue, provide and care for the needs of 75 abused and battered children (the number grows) and even their education. I believe Ana Balcells suffers a crisis daily on how to manage all their varied needs. But Divine Intervention came when a concert by Jed Madela was offered to her and the proceeds thereof were to be for Kalipay. In a community that is already experiencing donation fatigue, Ana was frantic. But entrusting herself in God’s kindness and mercy, Ana went ahead with the fund raising concert.

The concert was well attended and even those who failed to make it bought tickets for Ana’s and Kalipay’s truly amazing cause.

Christmas is the season to give. No matter what the circumstances, Christmas can never be cancelled because giving is the reason for the season!

God bless all your kind hearts for contributing to all worthy causes and organizations. And for the people who have spent time, energy, research and sourcing to give to those in need, you know God has a special place for you in heaven!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 19, 2013.


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