EVERYWHERE, we hear songs promoting a jolly and exciting holiday mood. We then ask ourselves “What should be its most important element?”
- Remembering Jesus Christ?
- Promoting peace?
- Spending time with family?
- Sharing the joy of giving?
- Helping the needy?
Many of us who celebrate Christmas find it difficult to achieve any of these goals during the holiday season. It often tends to be hectic, stressful and, above all, commercial. And its tradition becomes a list of many things to do. Thus, time with family and friends can be cut short by busy schedules.
Foremost, we celebrate Christmas to commemorate the birthday of Jesus Christ, our Savior. But popular Christmas music and many Christmas customs have little to do with Jesus. Millions who celebrate the holiday do not put faith in Him; some do not even believe that He existed. In the commercial world, Christmas has become a holiday to advertise goods rather than an occasion to remember Him.
To honor and remember Jesus, we may meditate on the way Jesus displayed compassion, patience and the courage to do what is right and look for opportunities to imitate Him in our life. Every year, the Pope and other religious leaders preach hopeful messages of peace regardless of our nationality, skin color, ethnicity or languages.
Many families today look forward to getting together and enjoying a good and pleasant time at Christmas. To an extent possible, we can arrange regular visits or outings with them. If our relatives live far away, we can still communicate thru letters, cellphones or e-mail. We can encourage our children to widen out in their affections by including elderly relatives to develop empathy and appreciation for those who are older.
In pursuit of happiness, many view gift-giving as one of the most important features of Christmas. But we bear in mind that we give according to what we have and not to go into debt to pay for expensive gifts. Also, charities often put forth extra effort to collect donations in this most wonderful time of the year. But if we perceive that someone needs help and it is within the power of our hand to assist, we do not wait for the holiday to act. Our kindness and compassionate actions will be blessed year-round.
As Christmas day is fast approaching, we sometimes lose sight of its most important element when things get hectic and stressful. It may help us clarify its most important element when we spend quiet moments of prayer before sleeping or after waking up.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on November 08, 2017.