Should Christmas be celebrated despite the harsh times?
I asked myself as early as September when children caroling inside a dilapidated public utility vehicle (PUV).
You see, September is not just the start of “ber” months but also the month when marketing materials and Christmas extravaganza are lavishly unveiled at the expense of baby Jesus or using thy name to earn more.
It was Christmas in September while the whole world collapsed.
And the children caroling are just a reflection of glimmer of hope while the entire Christendom will savor the birth of the Savior.
All this because of our consumerist culture, a culture deeply ingrained in our mind that we don’t think it isn’t wrong anymore.
No amount of pity can surpass the accumulated drying and staggering voice of two to three malnourished and mature-looking children singing in our midst. And in an attempt to lose our constancy to the world, we hear them politely introducing who they are, albeit in a disturbing voice (typical of a hungry child):
“Ate…Kuya…Dili mi mga tulisan, bisan tulisan ang among dagway. Dili me mga kawatan. Dili mi kung unsa inyong nahunaan. Mga manaygunay mi.”
Carefully reading (or listening) to their introduction, you will realized not just the abject poverty attached to them but the anti-social activities attached to the people like them. Typically Filipino, wit and humor attached. And they, children in the streets will utter that with due respect.
Does your typical kid do that?
And then, their typical Christmas song:
“Ang Pasko ay kay saya…”
Does your typical kid sing that?
Often, I don’t give my coins in the streets particularly to our brothers and sisters earning a living by asking alms. I just don’t want to provide them with the opportunity of becoming ever more beggars and creating several (if not hundreds) of them to beg more just because I gave a cent or two.
On December 16 is the start of Dawn Mass or Simbang Gabi or Aguinaldo mass, the tradition of pre-dawn nine-day novena mass, one that is widely followed throughout the country is an opportune time to reflect the songs this children are singing and let’s see if they really touched our heart.
May the coming of the holiday season lead us to reflect where we have come and what has brought us to the point where we are.
Merry Christmas, still, even if I wonder sometimes if it is really meant for all.