Panes: Before and after (part 1)

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By Joel Panes

Optic Yellow

Monday, December 16, 2013


THE subject of “before and after” is a picture of change and in this, nothing remains the same. Some men age like wine while some turn rancid like vinegar. Assets depreciate and even the so called “blue chips” which are not chips dipped in blue Roquefort cheese do not always retain their stability in the investment markets.

They say love never changes but the truism suffers much as the fact the 25th of December in the Gregorian calendar is not really the birth of the Messiah which the repository of Truth purports it to be.

According to a study, it can now be told the Messiah Yahshua was born sometime in September or October. Jews had never been subject to months of the Julian calendar which were established during 45 B.C. since these were named after Roman deities - Janus, the god of beginnings and endings for January; and Februus, a god of purification for February; and Mars, the god of war for March. Adherence to this pagan practice would be a transgression against the Decalogue divinely handed to Moses.

In tablets of stone, it was written there is only one Elohim and besides Him, there is no other. Thus in the birthplace of the Messiah and as part of that constitutional convention in Sinai, seven holidays were prescribed and ordained and one such is the Feast of Tabernacles.

On this season, the Messiah was said to have been born. Not December 25. Being in fact far off, do we really care that it is not?
The small truth is so many men and women labor to painstakingly fabricate truths from myths and lies. Whether the same are from tall or mighty or from a lowly caste, the propensity to distort the facts and misrepresent is a dangerous tendency. Integrity as it was in the beginning was assaulted with a vicious lie. In today’s lingo, it is called the spin. In some ways, it can be as dangerous as when His Excellency implores media to shun form negative reporting and instead focus on the positive aspects of life – that is to publicize all sunshine, no rain; all good, no bad; all holy, no sin; and all righteous, no sin. A desire to project a season of illumination at the expense of fact and truth is wanted.

There is a call to focus on temporal lights and be unmindful of the gray skies. This executive plea to media is however not devoid of merits. It can be a prayer against abusive reporting and magnification of error but without spirit of true transparency and discernment, it can be an absurdity which insults common sense. The facts can be contorted and the art of doublespeak has attained its highest form.

Traces of this practice are pervasive. It is not exclusive to the chief executive. Thus in our time, the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah can be remanded to oblivion but sexual liberties can be praised. The countless sufferings of the Holocaust but can be expunged from history books and abortion of unborn babies can be legalized.

There are countless events in our midst too glaring to ignore and great is the propensity of human frailty to window dress. A lie spoken a thousand times is believed to be gospel truth. Santa Claus on whose laps children sit on is not by any stroke a saint just as clay hardened over time and coated with glitters does not make a gold bar. There is a hunger for meaning. The pillage of typhoon Yolanda on Leyte, the conspiracy of plunder of the nation’s coffers by persons occupying offices of public trust and countless others do not make any sense. One tragedy after another has anaesthetized our hearts in the same manner we have become numb to fundamental truths. Typhoon Yolanda? For all Al Gore's rhetoric, that was not just about climate change.

Thousands of years after the man’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, man’s craving for the glory of Paradise drives him to recreate and pursue its likeness on earth. It is a genetic addiction, a hunger pang waiting a patented and supernatural satiation. Buddhists have called it nirvana; economists, utopia and politicians, world peace.

Many administrations have coined lofty slogans tp produce a semblance of heaven on earth. His Excellency calls it, “Daang Matuwid.” A cola company once called it, “It’s the real thing.” For most of us caught in the whirlpool of tradition since we were born, it can be called Christmas in this particular month of the year.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 17, 2013.

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