The secret of the season
Everywhere people feel the upbeat mood of Christmas. The city pulsates with the beat of the season. Stores all over town burst with signs of celebration and gift-giving. Houses are aglow with glittering Christmas trees and the red, green and gold colors of the season. Carolers sang through the night while gaily wrapped gifts awaited impatient hands to open them when merrymaking peaked at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve.
But Christmas is not all show and festivity. There’s more to the season of cheer than just gift-giving, Yuletide parties, and noche buena: the Hand that created Christmas.
Christmas is one of those rare occasions when we open our hearts to others. It is a season of goodwill. It is that time of the year when we show our love through gifts. But it is more than that, still.
Two thousand years ago, Caesar Augustus ordered a census in Rome. Jesus, born humbly in a manger, was not exempted from the census. While Caesar’s title was the first emperor of Rome, Jesus’ name was not all-important on the list.
But look where Augustus is today. His name is only cited in history books. And look where Jesus is now. He lives in our minds and hearts, reminding us of the true secret of Christmas.
In many schools, students are taught that the secret of Christmas is in Christ’s teachings. He taught us to show love. If one is hungry, we should offer food. If one is thirsty, we should offer a drink. If one is homeless, offer shelter. If one is sick, console or help him or her get well. Simple but lofty teachings!
Jesus taught us unconditional love. If one would wrong us, we ought to do something good to him or her. If one slaps us on the cheek, we must turn the other cheek. If one seeks a little help, offer more. The humble will be exalted. The poor with humble hearts will be more blessed than the rich. The last will be the first. These are enlightening contradictions.
The secret is in Christ’s promise which includes unbounded love and goodness. As He was dying on the cross, He asked God the Father to forgive all our sins. He never forced us to believe or pushed us to reform. We are free to choose. It is up to us to follow His lead, His teachings. While His teachings are simple, they are clear, full of mercy and truth.
It doesn’t matter if Christmas began in 1 A.D. the 28th of August, as Clement of Alexandria said, or on the 19th of April or 14th of May, as Telesphorus bid, or on Dec. 25, as Pope Julius wrote in creed.
It doesn’t matter if the Nativity was in Jerusalem where Joseph and Mary raised Jesus, the Holy Son, or in Rome where the western Church began, or in Bethlehem where a bright star guided the Magi’s caravan.
It doesn’t matter when Italy heard the first Christmas in 180 A.D., while the Catholic Church observed it since 431 A.D., or when the Jews had Christmas with glowing candles while Romans rang church bells with fun and full delight.
It doesn’t matter if we celebrate Christmas on the actual day when the Christ was born, or not; what is important is the fact that we still celebrate it with righteous minds and joyful hearts.
Let us share Christ’s love with one another, in this season of hope mostly for the meek, the troubled, and the poor, as others have done before.
Pit M. Maliksi, 64, was Most Outstanding Professor for 10 years at PUP-Santo Tomas, Batangas, and founder of Mga Apo Ni Tomas, a civic society of 1,000 young professionals.
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