Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Let Christmas reign

Posted on December 11, 2016 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 11, 2016 – 12:00am

I looked back at the articles I have written about Christmas the past few years and I was quite appalled to find that I have mostly complained about the inconvenience of the season, pointing out the endless traffic, non-stop parties, social pressures, the big expenses, the crass materialism and commercialism that we go through to celebrate it.

I sounded like the Grinch ranting against Christmas.

This year, I vow to be more positive. I will embrace Christmas and savor it in the best way possible. Why? Because I feel it is the only way to survive and remain sane at this moment in our country’s march into a very uncertain future. In these times where every day seems to usher in a new crisis in our country, where people are truly worried about where our society is headed and what the future will bring, it is hard to feel the cheer and joy that usually accompanies the happiest of seasons. There is, in the air, a sense of an impending dictatorship. All this talk about martial law or the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus has raised the anxiety levels of many Filipinos. The Marcos burial has unleashed much anger and indignation.

Fear stalks the streets of many poor communities where extrajudicial killings happen daily, resulting in close to 6,000 people dead in less than six months. As we put up our Christmas lights, we have a Congress rushing through a death penalty law, and a Supreme Court deliberating on the petitions of people charged with plunder asking to be freed. Somehow, it is difficult to imagine Santa wanting to come here since he may not be safe, and may even be unwelcome.

But thank God, Christmas cannot be moved or canceled for another better time. The world does not and will not stop turning. In fact, Christmas may be all we need to make the holidays a better time for everyone.

So I am going whole hog for Christmas this year. Bring in the decor, the tree, the dancing lights, the mistletoe, the tinsel and Christmas balls, the boughs of holly. Hang them up high to light up our spirits. Bring in the carolers. Play all the Christmas carols that bring back the wonder and joy of Christmas when we were young and carefree.

Most importantly, bring out the Belen. Prepare that special place in the house where Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the Three Kings, the angels, and the animals are assembled around the manger. A homily I heard two Sundays ago urged the flock to go deeper into the meaning of Christmas. Don’t just go gaga over the happy Yuletide season. More importantly, bring back the “Christ” in Christmas. Bring back that hope that has been so difficult to sustain, much less to find, most of the year. This season, let hope reign. Go back to that seminal moment in the manger when God gave us the greatest paradox of all time — that the Savior of mankind would not be coming from the ranks of the mighty and powerful but from the poor and powerless.

Let the goodness inherent in all of us dominate the fearful social, political, emotional and psychological spaces we are dwelling in right now. Let the light dispel the fears and doubts, the negativity and gloom, and break the spell of evil that has blanketed our country. In the thick of the darkness that has enveloped our country and the world, let the shimmering stars of hope break through in full force.

Let Christmas reign!

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