The True LIGHT of Christmas
Christmas Day Reflection
In our own ambitious ways, we all wanted to become a STAR, right? Well, who doesn’t? I have been raised from a big family of seven boys and being the third among them, I have to assert myself in order to win the hearts of my parents. Among many cultures, most often if not always, it is the bunso or the youngest member of the family who becomes the all time favorite or the apple of the eye so to speak. He/she gets all the attention he/she wanted. So one day, to make sure how my efforts at winning the hearts of my parents, I approached them and asked more like a trick question while they were watching television: “Ma, Pa do you love me more than any of my brothers?” (Very mushy, huh?) My mother who obviously, wasn’t expecting the question coming looked at me seriously but with a smile on her face, saying to me in reply: “huo, ginahigugma ku gid ikaw kaparis ku mga bituon sa kaeangitan!” In Tagalog: “Oo, anak ikaw ang superstar ng buhay ko!” In English, “Yes, my son, you are the Star of my life!” In Spanish, “Si mi hijo, tu eres la estrella de mi vida!” I was so relieved to hear that, and right when I was about to leave, I heard this song from our television where Nora Aunor was main actress:
“Ikaw ang superstar ... Ang star ng buhay ko ... Mahirap mainlab ... Sa isang katulad mo.”
"You are the superstar ... The star of my life ... It's hard to fall in love ... To someone like you." (Personal English translation)
Then it dawned upon me that my mother was actually quoting that very line from the song realizing that my mother was a die-hard Noranian!
The Star, ang parol, bituon, lantern, whatever that is, symbolizes one significant element of life, which is LIGHT. Light has always been a strong image among different cultures and faiths. As we celebrate Christmas, let me highlight some of its significant features:
For one, Light signifies TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM. Our world today craves for intellectual enlightenment, which will dispel the darkness of mental and moral ignorance. We hardly know the Truth. With all the “truths” we find everywhere, we cannot clearly discern which ones are in accord to the teachings of our Catholic Church. Subjectivism, utilitarianism, relativism and some other “isms” which do not define the Truth in its absolute sense. We seemed to be misguided by a different STAR, a different LIGHT so much closer to the darkness of ignorance.
A Filipino kid was once asked by his grandmother what TRUTH is, and innocently he said, “We’ll Lola or grandma, truth is when I tell my mother that’s she’s beautiful because that is how God created her to be.” Nice definition, right? Had you been the mother of this child, you will definitely be at the cloud 9 hearing those words. Like what this kid said, truth has its reference on God. As we are created in God’s image and likeness who is TRUTH, GOODNESS and BEAUTY so are we as His creatures.
In Philosophy we define truth as the “conformity of the mind with reality.” More than this definition, however, Christian truth is a truth that has a mind or conscience for God and a heart that responds to present realities. When we see beggars on the street, we see a reality but not Christian truth; when we hear people say, “we are at war”, we hear another reality but not Christian truth. Christian truth is dynamic, it responds to a beggar in need by giving him/her food and drink; it opposes war, when leaders think that it’s the only way to peace. Advent is a time, to foster Christian truth – a light that will shine out to those who are oppressed and are in need of it.
More than ever, LIGHT symbolizes HOPE. The entire celebration of advent is a celebration of HOPE! We've heard in the 9 days novena stories of wonders by God on how much He intervened in human history in order to make His love felt in the lives of men: Mary was chosen to be the Mother of God; Joseph was called to become the foster father of Jesus in a dream; Zechariah and Elizabeth never had a child as Elizabeth was barren; and John the baptist was born to become the forerunner of the Savior.
Different crises around us slow us down and make us uncertain of our future. We feel the same uncertainty that Mary, Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth could have felt when they first heard of the angel's announcement to them. But fear not! Amidst the troubled times, there is hope, a flicker of light will appear and all will be well in God’s time. And just like Zechariah, our “mouths” will once again be opened to proclaim His word.
We heard of a Typhoon coming over Christmas (an uninvited guest!). As she comes to us as bad news, we pray with hope and trust in God that we will be able to enjoy the holidays not in fear but with JOY in our hearts believing in His divine assistance and providence. As in previous calamities may people find joy in helping other people in order to give them hope by being ready to share their kindness. Christmas reminds us to give hope when people seem to despair. To give light when people seem to experience darkness.
And so, the Star, ang parol, bituon, el farol, lantern signifies LIGHT. The long period of darkness we now experience will be overshadowed by LIGHT in the end. Just like the parol, we too are LIGHT of Christ to others. Just like what my mother said, “Ikaw ang superstar ng buhay ko” “You are the STAR of my life,” “Tu eres la estrella de mi vida.” Live like a superstar not as a celebrity but as a LIGHT to others who will illumine Christian truth and give hope to mankind!
Some suggestions to do today and tomorrow:
- Gather the whole family around the altar or the crib and pray the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary. This is best done in the evening.
- Think of a gift we would want to offer as a present to the birthday Celebrant on Christmas. This could be a good deed, forgiving your enemy in your heart and praying for him/her.
- Include in your meal prayer a prayer for peace in our country and the world.
“A Merry Christmas to one and all!”