THIS year has been very heavy and traumatic. 2020 is one year where clarity of the adverse impacts of the pandemic is center stage. Although we cannot see the enemy, the changes in our "manner of living" are crystal clear. Time stood still and everyone started to reflect on what was happening. Paano na ang pasko?

The "Qs" started sometime in March. ECQ, EECQ, MECQ, GCH, MGCQ, and a "new normal." Restrictions left and right. Prohibitions here and there. Stay indoors. Stay at home. The annoying traffic was gone, not only along EDSA, but on all roads throughout the country. Mass transportation was halted. Paano na ang pasko?

A lot of businesses closed. Jobs lost. The economy was bleeding red. Senior citizens and children were prohibited from moving around to avoid getting infected. We were advised to distance ourselves from each other. Will a vaccine ever come? Paano na ang Pasko?

Two months away from a new year. Maybe a new hope? Everyone was hopeful. Then came Typhoon Rolly, after which Siony and Tonyo. Most recently, Ulysses. So much destruction. So much pain. Where to now Pilipinas? Paano na ang pasko?

We commiserate with our fellowmen who are still reeling from the painful experience. I cannot imagine how horrifying it must have been. We need to support them in any way we can. We are all negatively affected by the pandemic but if we have something to share, anything that can help them back to their feet, no matter how small, this is the time to give. If we cannot share material things, we can support them through prayer. We can talk to our family and friends and hope that they, who may be more well-off, can share, too. The time to act is now.

Paano na ang Pasko?

Christmas will be here. Christmas will not be gone. We may not "celebrate" as we did in the past. But let now be Christmas! After all, this is the season of giving.

"Wherever there are people giving gifts, exchanging cards. I believe that Christmas is truly in their hearts ... This season may we never forget the love we have for Jesus. Let him be the one to guide us as another new year starts. And may the spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts." -- Jose Mari Chan & Liza Chan

"Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide-open heart that thinks of others first." -- George Matthew Adams, "The Christmas Heart"

"I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses." -- Taylor Caldwell

"Let us keep Christmas beautiful without a thought of greed, that it might live forevermore to fill our every need, that it shall not be just a day, but last a lifetime through, the miracle of Christmas time that brings God close to you." -- Ann Schultz

"The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart." -- Helen Keller

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." -- Dale Evans Rogers