Cartoon by Roni Santiago
Cartoon by Roni Santiago

Christmas is a season of joy!

Faithful Christians all over the world rejoice over the birth of the Child Christ 2,012 years ago.

Many of us Filipinos make long preparations for the celebration of Christmas. We save money so we can buy Christmas decorations and gifts for our loved ones, neighbors and friends. We save money so we can fill the table with all kinds of food on Noche Buena.

We send money to our relatives in the Philippines so they, too, have some amounts to spend during this season of joy.

We go on a shopping spree to buy new things for ourselves.

With the crash materialism associated with the Yuletide celebration, it is easy to forget the messages of Christmas. These take a back seat in our mind as we indulge in things that have nothing to do with the birth of the Infant Jesus.

What are the messages of Christmas? In our view, there are two important messages.

The first is about love. The Word became flesh because God the Father so loves “the world that He gave his only begotten Son.” Christ descended on the world of the mortals to redeem them from sins.

To reciprocate His love, we should love God and Jesus Christ. In fact, that is the first commandment: “Love God with all your heart…”

If we strictly adhere to this commandment, we would become innately good men, and we would not do anything that would displease or offend God. We would not be just paying lip service to Christian values because we would be Christians by heart and in deeds.

The second message of Christmas is about humility.

Christ was born to a poor carpenter’s family. In a stable in Bethlehem, the tiny Infant Jesus slept on a manger on which fodder for the sheep was placed.

These circumstances demonstrate humility in its naked simplicity. Christ is the Son of God the Almighty who could have built a grand palace for Jesus if He wanted to. He could have been born to a royal family, and instead of being surrounded by goats and sheep, the Infant Jesus would have been lavished with care by many house helps. And he could have slept on a golden crib instead of a manger.

Buddha was luckier than Christ. Siddharta Gautama, the real name of Buddha, was born to a well-to-do family. But even Buddha was known for his ascetic life and humility.

Despite his divine power, Christ did not brag about his might. Instead, He used his power to heal the sick and make the deaf hear and the blind see.

He is very much unlike many powerful people who do not hesitate to use brute power to put down the weak and the poor.

Merry Christmas to all!