A ‘radical’ Christmas and New Year


It is nice to be back after the break. By intention, I did not write during the height of the season. Firstly, because I might be more romantic, and I might have seen the season in more romanticized way. Secondly, the readers might also see the season to be more romantic and, for others- nostalgic. So here I am writing long after the ‘high’ of the season has been gone.

I had the fortune of spending and celebrating my Christmas season and welcoming the New Year in quite a number of places- up north, in the megapolis and in mid-south. These places gave me quite enriching experiences and realizations.

It is my first time to spend a Christmas day in a farm- with rice fields all around the hut, fruit trees, chicken roaming all over the place, livestock on the pens, hammock under the gigantic bamboo shade. What a simple but lively day, spent with laughter and joy of telling stories and sharing our dreams. It was a day spent in close communion with people I love and who love me. It then dawned on me that perhaps it was a way of reminding me of another aspect of Christmas that we often forget- the simple yet fulfilling experience of beholding and welcoming the Saviour born in Bethlehem. In my long years, I have attempted to theologize Christmas (partly, because of education), but little did I try to ‘humanize’ Christmas.

Last Christmas was a time to look at it in another way- one that may be more faithful to the first one— Christmas as a celebration of the common web that ties all of us- humanity and the whole of creation in all harmony, and peace. It serves well that the Saviour was born in the simplicity of the manger, reminding us that it is in simplicity that life blooms in its fullness. And the plenitude of this blossoming life must be found in our communion with other people and other creatures.

It must be recalled that the first witnesses to the birthday of the Saviour were stars, cold night, stillness of the environment, the sheep and the shepherd. Only later on did the magi come. May we recover the essence of Christmas in the coming days of the last year of the first decade of the new millennium.

The days after Christmas, I visited some kin in the megapolis- some of them I have not seen for ages. What a fantastic feeling to see them again, hug them after a long while, laugh with them and catch up with many of them (some I haven’t seen for good 10 years). Yet what touched me the most is seeing my nephews and nieces and even grandchildren growing as good children— people with idealism and social consciousness. How attitudes changed as times went by. Who could imagine that a nephew who used to drive us away whenever we visited him in the past would not let me go (and crying profusely) when I was about to go home? I could only sit and look at them from a distance and with a smile in my heart admire them for their growing as good persons. Someday, somehow, somewhere they will need to go back to their roots. And that visit to them was one way of showing them such origin.

I was home for the New Year, with my parents, sisters, brother in law a niece and a nephew in our own home. Wonderful time it was- laughing and again sharing stories. Some relatives also came. For me, who is always the one away from the family gatherings because of studies and works, moments such these are more important. I realize that as I grow older, I always need to go back to my roots and renew my ties with my family. It was a time for renewal and recharging- as it should be.

This is what being radical means- going back to one’s roots and from there re-arrange one’s life, if need be. May everyone had a radical Christmas and New Year.

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