The past few weeks was full of Christmas - you name it - presents, parties, cards, lights, drinks, fake santas, christmas trees. And to top it all - the sky was literally lit with fireworks all around Cebu between 11pm to midnight. It didn't stop till wee hours in the morning.
Frankly speaking, the Christmas experience in Cebu is really something I have not experienced before. I mean, the folks wake up at the wee hours of dawn to attend special masses at 4am in the morning. Even those who never been to church before go and attend mass. Lights everywhere - name it churches, the shopping malls, offices, schools, even official establishements. Well, let's keep that discussion it for another discussion.
Then there is the gifts and presents and cakes. You give gifts and cakes to anyone you know. Thank Jesus for my next 2 months supply of wine's. And not forgeting the giving of presents too. So I did the best I could give - red wine ! Oh well, I didn't recycle the ones I received to give aways, since it is a claimable expense. I promptly ordered 50 bottles of the best red wine I could find in Cebu - from Manny'O wines, and yes the respectable Mr. Manny Osmeña gave me a good deal. But heck, the distributing of presents took a toll. I didn't wanted a delivery guy to send my present, so I made it a point to personally hand deliver my presents. But alas, most of the recipients were not around at the time of the delivery. Oh well, it's holidays for Christ sake !
Talking about presents, I have to mention my dear friend Abon Cimafranca. He is the human version of Santa Claus, true to the literal sense. And to top it all, he had his big red Salvattore Ferragamo paper bag, stuffed with presents of all sorts and giving it out to all those he knows, from the security guards at malls, to the bank tellers, to the restaurant waiters and hotel concierge. Heck, even my maid and driver got a handbag and wallet respectively from dear Abon. Too bad, he didn't have the beard and the tummy !
All this euphoria around me got me thinking, pardon me, as I was listening to the Priest's homily during the Christmas mass. Did Jesus Christ really wanted his birthday to be celebrated this way? Hmmm, with fire crackers, lighted trees, wines, presents and all? Oh, yes - the spirit of sharing and caring, giving and meeting, joy and peace. But is Jesus Christ's birth the only time we think of giving and sharing? Did Jesus wanted it only for his birthday? How did this one event become the most celebrated and spend thrift event in the whole world?
It then dawned upon me - it's just an annual affair that serves a purpose - to remind our forgetful minds and to teach our young ones, the value of giving and sharing, to rejoice in hope and wishful thinking, to literally get out of one's comfort zone and join in some merry making. But alas, for most people, it just ends there. After the presents are unwrapped and after the trees goes back into storage, people just carry on with normal their normal lives.
Why don't we carry the spirit of Christmas within us every day of our life? Or atleast, once a week, or say, once a month. But it is not practical to hang out the lights every week or every other month. This is where the real meaning of Christmas serves it purpose. While the celebration of Christmas is an annual reminder on the things Christmas stand for, the actual meaning of Christmas doesn't end there. Christmas serves as a reminder on the things we should carry out in our every day life. Caring and Sharing is not just about getting together with loved ones during Christmas or exchanging gifts to those you know. It is meant to show genuine caring and sharing to every one around you.
We can and we should carry on the meaning of Christmas in every day lives. This can be a simple action such as a courtesy gesture on the road - giving way to someone who has signalled intention to change lanes, bringing a blind man or elderly across the street, extending a helping hand to a colleague who is faced with a tight deadline, offering to help your mother or spouse in the kitchen, being compassionate to a good cause, making a difference in someone's life by just being there etc.
So go ahead and make a list of the things you can do in your everyday life to live the spirit of Christmas after Christmas. And that really is what Christmas is all about - a reminder on the values we should uphold in our daily lives.
Merry Christmas folks !