By Marivir R. Montebon
New York, New York
The ambience of the year changes when September comes in the Philippines. The airwaves are filled with Christmas songs, and homes and commercial establishments begin to spruce up their exteriors and interiors with Christmas decorations. Towards November, the city streets glitter with Christmas lights. The overall community mood is thus brightened up.
Despite the perennial challenges of natural disasters and economic pinch, there is no stopping the average Filipino (about 90% are Catholics) to celebrate Christmas. At this time, the mood is always festive and looking forward to parties and gatherings of family and friends. People begin to make their shopping list to give people they love a little something for Christmas.
For hundreds of years of practicing the Catholic religion, this Christmas lifestyle has been engrained in most of us. We have imbibed Spanish religiosity and American commercialism to become the animated, fun-loving, and caring Filipinos that we mostly are.
I believe that Christmas is mainly a time for giving. Definitely, it is for children. It is their time of glee, with all the gifts they receive from those who love them.
For some fancy reason, people tend to be in the giving mode at Christmas. I suppose this is inspired by the pervasive story of the three wise men from the east who searched for the child Jesus and gave him myrrh, incense, and gold. Or by the merry thoughtfulness of St. Nicholas who gave toys to children during Christmas.
For sure, the global tradition among Christians of gift-giving will remain as it is for a long time because it makes the giver and the receiver feel good. The message of Christmas is not the gift, per se, but the thoughtfulness and concern. That’s what keeps the happy mood going.
OSM! is happy to have timely brought books in for the young children in Tipolo Elementary School as a gift of knowledge and opportunity to be interested in reading. The givers are thoughtful people in the US, Miss Carla Mayol and Edgar Patilano, and more are coming up with their books.
This Christmas, I would like to bring on the thoughtfulness and love always.