MAGANES: The real essence of Christmas
If we were to believe the Christian faith, which is anchored on the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ the son of God was born in a lowly manger in the town of Bethlehem in Palestine more than 2,000 years ago. Born to redeem mankind and save Israel from the shackles of Roman Empire’s slavery, Christ was born as a promise from God to Virgin Mary who conceived Him by the power of Holy Spirit.
The Jews in those days were waiting for their Messiah who to them will have a kingly power from the lineage of King David out of the 12 tribes of Israel. When He was born, angels rejoiced from heaven singing “peace on earth, goodwill to men”. Three wise men from the Orient visited Jesus in Bethlehem and offered Him three gifts: incense, gold and myrrh. His birth, however, was not given much attention by the Jews not until He started His ministry at the age of 30.
During His ministry, Jesus preached the Kingdom of God. He proclaimed Himself as the promised Son of God as prophesied by the prophets of Israel. He talked about peace, love, salvation and the redemption of mankind. He chose His 12 disciples who helped Him in propagating His ministry that continued even after His death at the cross in Golgotha. He was scourged to death when he claimed to be the Son of God and the Redeemer, to the consternation of the priests during His time.
Christ’s birth and death are the essences of what we are celebrating now as “Christmas”. Although many Bible scholars claimed that Christ was not born on December as this was associated with the pagans’ celebration of their god Saturno, still many Christians could not do away with the celebration invoking upon them the birthday of Christ on the 25th. Be that as it may, Christmas celebration should be put in proper perspective. While it may not be true that His birthday was on December 25, the notion that He was born to save mankind must first be inculcated in the hearts and minds of the many Christians around the world.
Peace, love, charity and hope. These are virtues that have been talked about for many years. Peace is somewhat elusive. While everybody is talking about the mercy and love of God, people around the world are not at peace with themselves. The quest for material riches is on top of their priorities leaving behind the spiritual enrichment that through the years has waned. Love is a virtue that has slowly losing its meaning. It is becoming a ” lip service” that does not emanate from the hearts of everyone. Charity and hope are losing too their real essence. How many people are living in the morass of poverty? How many of them were given help by the wealthy ones? And, what hope await them in the future to unshackle them from their state of despair and frustration?
Christmas is celebrated worldwide. It has not lost its popularity as the most celebrated holiday in a year. Yet, people drift from its meaning. The virtues I have pointed out earlier are slowly eroding. The celebration of Christmas has been associated with much commercialism and materialism as well big business opportunity. People, particularly those who professed themselves as Christians, have apparently diverted from the teachings of Christ, who is supposed to be the centerpiece of the celebration.
Many years will still come our way. Many Christmases will still be celebrated. How soon do we shift ourselves to the real essence of Christmas? Isn’t it time for us to reflect within ourselves? How can we contribute peace in this moribund society? How can we show real love to our fellow mankind? When will charity and hope be within our hearts?
“Christmas” without the Christ is just a celebration. But who are we celebrating? May this Christmas season give us more time to reflect and think for a better world. It should start from and within us.
Speaking of Christmas celebration, I almost not able to celebrate it this year with my family. I should have been a rotten body inside the cemetery if the “dabarkads” of the demons have succeeded in extinguishing my life last November 8. It was a day that has been haunting me until now. Where’s the love of those people who masterminded my assassination? Why do they have the temerity to think of killing their fellow mankind just for hatred, political differences or otherwise? Do these people think of their families and loved ones, too?
Those culprits I presumed have the galls of celebrating this Christmas season with their families and friends. Maybe, the gunmen even bought presents and food for their children and families out of the payment they received from that “gun hiring activities”. Everyday, I could not dissociate myself from that gory incident. Almost every time, I can’t help the idea that I am almost gone from this world.
However, thinking it over and over again has given me also more strength to move on and appreciate the goodness of God. I also learned to appreciate the real people around me especially my family who are always there to lend their hand. I value also the company of some selected few friends (the real friends I am posting on my Facebook accounts) who are incessantly wishing me good health and peace of mind.
Now that 2016 is about to end, I realized that life is too short. While I might have hurt a lot of people in the course of my work as a media man, I ask forgiveness not as a sign of defeat but as a gesture of being a good Christian. I also extend my thanks to my friends who are always there for me unconditionally. What happened to me has opened my eyes that not everyone I associated with are “friends” in the real sense of the word.
The year 2017 is about to start. I hope we could still work together for the betterment of the communities we live in. Although life is too short, living it to the fullest will make a difference.
Merry Christmas and happy new year to everyone!
(For comments and suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com.)
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