Maanne Ilagan Lopez
A WORK IN PROGRESS

On “Christmas” editorials

Lopez, Maanne I.

Editorial and Opinion Writing

January 8, 2008

On Christmas Day, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published two editorials, the Spirit of peace and the Spirit of love. Both the titles is obviously about Christmas, yet the write-up seemed new to me. I was amazed to read about the Christmas story during the World War I. It’s very inspiring to hear such kind of story, just like what Simon Rees wrote that, “The event was seen as a shining episode of sanity in the bloody history of World War I.” The write up made me sad though. Unlike the WWI were only 5 percent of the casualties are civilians, at present wars, about 75 percent are civilians. What’s worse is that wars in nearly one-fifth of the countries of the world continue despite of the Christmas season.

The second editorial, the Spirit of love, questioned if Christmas is still a religious festival for Christians or a commercialization, and if atheists also celebrate it. It made me think if we lose the Christmas spirit. Did the Spirit of Love turned into the Spirit of Gifts that we commemorate Christmas not entirely for religious, but for materialistic and commercial reasons?

I think there could never be another perfect Christmas, like during the birth of Jesus Christ. There are parts of the world were they lose the Christmas spirit of peace and love, and we can’t do anything about it but be an example. The Philippines is in chaos, but the spirit of Christmas prevails. Our country is one of the happiest countries celebrating Christmas. The government declared truce with the New People’s Army and peace is the greatest gift one could give in a world weary of almost endless wars.

I am quite unsatisfied with the content of the Spirit of love. Christmas for me is not a religious festival. Christmas is a best term for giving love, forgiving, gathering of family and friends, making people happy. Yes, the writer indicated about the forgiving and gathering, but I think it’s lacking. Although atheists don’t believe in Christ it doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate it. Christmas is not for Christians only, but for all of God’s creations. We might be forgetting something: Christmas is not only about the birth of Jesus Christ, but the greater thing behind it, God’s love. John 3:16 said, “For God so love the world, He gave us His one and only Son…” Regardless of ones religion, when we celebrate love, we celebrate Christmas.

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