Editorial: Hearing the voice of love

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Monday, December 23, 2013

THE country is celebrating Christmas right after the magnitude-7.2 earthquake hit Bohol and Cebu and super typhoon Yolanda hit parts of the Visayas a few weeks later. Considering the sequence of events, Christmas 2013 should be among the most meaningful celebrations for Filipinos.

Some sectors actually thought that celebrating Christmas would be incongruous with the situation in the country in the latter part of this year. The sense of loss the two major calamities conjured was thought to be enough of a dampener for what is traditionally a joyous ritual.

But it is precisely because of realities like calamities hitting us that Christmas should be celebrated. The celebration reminds us that amidst the gloom is a bright spot—the birth of the Redeemer.

Pope Francis recently talked about this in what can be considered as his initial pronouncement on the meaning of Christmas. He defined it as “feast of trust and hope, which overcomes uncertainty and pessimism.”

He pointed out the reason for the “hope”: “God is with us and God still trusts us!” Because of this, “earth is no longer a ‘valley of tears,’ rather, it is a place where God himself has pitched his tent, it is the meeting place of God with man, of God's solidarity with men.”

Messages like this are what are needed in the aftermath of tragedies. That is why we have to celebrate Christmas, if only to spread around its message of hope.

It is also in this sense that we are sure the survivors of Yolanda and the earthquake will be celebrating Christmas several hours from now. There may not be parties, bright lights and bursts of firecrackers. But there should be gatherings and sharing of the message of Christ’s birth.

In one of his twits (@pontifex), Pope Francis tells the faithful this: “Christmas celebrations are often full of sound. It would be good for us to make room for silence, to hear the voice of love.”

May we hear the voice of love as we celebrate this year the birth of Christ.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 24, 2013.


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