Wenceslao: Christmas season

Wenceslao
Wenceslao(File Photo)

In the Philippines, one begins to hear the sounds of the Christmas season during the “ber” months, meaning starting in September. But in our house, the Christmas season officially starts after the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days. And the celebration extends up to the new year. That is why our old Christmas tree has already been set up to remind us that the season is officially on.

Actually, what I did was turn over the Christmas tree, which was kept in its torn carton box, to our eldest son, who promptly set it up in the sala. I felt like he was in a better position to own the season now that he is already in college. The next generation, I would say, is gradually taking over, at least in our household. More so that I am now retired and could no longer afford a Christmas celebration grander than when I was still a working man. My meager pension has ensured that.

Living far from our old place has muted our Christmas celebrations. In Sitio Kawayan in Barangay Sambag 2 where I grew up and where my family used to stay, the spirit of Christmas was always felt early despite the cramped surroundings. Firecracker traders begin to show up and so too the carolers, meaning, the professional ones, who earn something from the endeavor. We, the children then, would usually do that only on the eve of Christmas. Sometimes, we do that to usher in the new year. Both Christmas and New Year’s Days always bring us this feeling of hope no matter what the country and society at large offer to us.

But we still have many more things to thank for compared to countries in a war setting like Israel, which is now waging war against the Hamas terrorist group, and Ukraine, which is still battling an invasion by neighboring Russia. In these countries, families live in uncertainty and I could not imagine how they will celebrate Christmas and the coming of another year.

What I am saying is that despite all our difficulties, we are still fortunate when compared to some other peoples of the world who have to endure the horrors that war brings. We are a Third World country, true, but at least we can celebrate Christmas and the new year in relative peace. Here, the hope is that we will have good health. As some Cebuanos would joke: “Bahalag niwang basta buhi.”

Let me, therefore, use this as an opportunity to greet my readers a Merry Christmas in advance. You may be in an economic crunch, like me, but let this not take away from us the hope that the season brings. Sometimes, I sit in my sala in silence while watching the lights that adorn our Christmas tree. During those moments, I sometimes feel sadness descend and embrace me tightly, but I always drive it away by remembering the joys of Christmases past. That I say, is what those Christmas lights are for: to remind us that Christmas is all about the hope and joy that the birth of the child Jesus brought to our world.

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