Three days to go and it's Christmas day. The birth of our Lord. And I am so excited about it! At least, I'm one of the fewer people I know who's in the Christmas spirit. A lot of people are down and out during the holiday season and it's sad to hear that the reason why they feel this way is because they don't have money. I'm not saying that I have lots of money that I'm in the mood to celebrate Christmas. But...when exactly did Christmas become so commercialized? When did the holidays become a burder to people?
Growing up in a family who lives by traditions, Christmas means:
- Attending and completing the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo;
- Attending the Christmas Eve mass;
- Cooking Arroz Valenciana for Noche Buena;
- Going to Parañaque to celebrate Christmas day with the Franciscos;
- Celebrating Christmas with the Fazons on December 30; and, of course
- Giving gifts to family and loved ones
It's sad that people see Christmas as that time of year when you have to spend so much on gifts. It's unfortunate that people think of the holidays as just another opportunity to get something from people.
So here's my Christmas message to all of you...
Instead of being a season of being grateful for what God has given us, Christmas is often publicized and celebrated for more materialistic reasons. The meaning of what transpired more than two thousand years ago is lost by many people who fail to understand that these material possessions are only temporary. However, the core values of faith, family, and charity will last for eternity.
While Christmas is certainly a time to exchange gifts with those close to you; take a little extra time to appreciate the family and friends you have around you, and take the opportunity to give some of yourself to those less fortunate. This season is a great time to help those among us who were not blessed with the same opportunities and privileges that we have. Help doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary; volunteer your time. Separate yourself from the crowd of inaction by taking positive actions by helping out in an outreach program or mentoring a kid.
Finally, be thankful for what you have and who you are this Christmas season. Rather than simply taking for granted all that surrounds you, be thankful that you have an education, you have a career; you have food on your table and clothes in your closet, and be thankful that you live with the most wonderful people in the world.
Merry Christmas to one and all!