The reason for the season PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 December 2014 14:21



Now that December 25 is past and we are done with our own interpretations of how to celebrate Christmas I feel I can let off with my own observations without coming across as another Grinch.

I must admit that Christmas is not a peaceful time for me, seeing the frenzy that many people go into preparing for the event. I am struck with the irony of the angels’ announcement  of “Peace to People of Goodwill”  and the long lines of impatient people at the checkout counters in the supermarkets and the department stores, the stalled traffic in our streets and the harassed parents wrapping up the last gift for the big family.

Even earlier than December the newspapers’ pages are full of ads for this or that brand of  merchandise. As though Christmas can’t possibly be happy if you don’t buy for yourself or for someone this dress or that shirt, this or that pair of shoes, this or that jewelry. The sales pitch can’t be kind to people with budgets to watch – and that means the   majority of people like you and me. I can imagine the feelings aroused in  so many who are moved to crave these things but can’t possibly afford to buy them. Might we perhaps say that here we have the beginnings of the dishonesty of so many Filipinos?

The pages of the Manila newspaper that we get daily in our house are full of ads for merchandise available in department stores in Manila. A number of these stores are branches of shops abroad and I can think of two which are based in England. I will not name them lest I come out pushing for these stores. From my experience while on  a fellowship in England  these stores are not really high end shops over there but here in the Philippines they have that patina of being “exclusive” because of our continuing romance with anything foreign. Another way others might put it is “colonial mentality”.

A certain type of article also kept coming up  leading to Christmas and these carried the leads “Experience the spirit of the season…”. These articles would usually push for a particular menu for the Noche Buena meal or the Christmas lunch  most families share.  Or wearing a designer gown might be the reason for experiencing the “spirit” in the mind of the paper’s editors.

But what is exactly that spirit that we are supposed to get into at Christmas? I do not wish to get into any theological  speculation but for me a simple line in a Christmas card showing  Jesus in the manger on that first  Christmas  says it all for me:  Jesus is the reason for the season.