By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
It’s the “Ber” months. At this time of the year in the Philippines, Christmas is in the air. Some families are already setting up their Christmas trees. Christmas carols are starting to play, especially the songs of the iconic Jose Mari Chan. Everyone is looking forward to the holidays where there will be gatherings and parties almost everywhere and every day. People are usually excited to go home to their provinces to spend time with loved ones. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, will these traditions continue or is everything going to change?
Since the pandemic started, important occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals have all been done virtually. My 35th birthday and my daughter’s 5th birthday are coming up very soon and we couldn’t even plan how to make our days special because of the fear of contracting the virus if we invite people to come over. And with Christmas just around the corner, will it still be the most wonderful time of the year?
As I look forward to Christmas and think about the events that happened and are still happening this painful year, I can’t help but utter this prayer, “Lord, the only Christmas wish I have this year is for this pandemic to end.” More than any material thing, more than anything that the world can offer, I believe that the best Christmas gift that humanity can receive this year is for COVID-19 to be eradicated, or if not totally eradicated, at least find a way for it to be prevented or treated. I hope that scientists and doctors will finally be able to create a safe vaccine against the virus. I hope that an effective medicine be produced to treat those who are and will be affected. I pray that fear will no longer have the upper hand. It is my faith that eventually, we get to start living again with freedom- to go out, to be together, to breathe, and to enjoy life. To have our lives back – this is the most wonderful gift we can ever receive for Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year.
Christmas this year will never be the same. Many families have lost precious members. Many are still praying for family members to get healed. Some heads of families have lost source of living. Businesses have closed and many are struggling. Economies are collapsing. For many, the reasons to rejoice have faded away.
However, Christmas is all about hope. It is a celebration of the birth of the One who has come to save. Even if everything seems dark and bleak, we can be assured of the light that He brings. Even if the pandemic and all the depressing events have tried to steal our hearts’ peace and happiness, He has come to restore our joy. Christmas is not an event. It is a Person. Whether or not we see the end of the devastating pandemic before the year 2020 ends, we can still have a smile on our faces and hope in our hearts that the One we will be celebrating is faithful. He delivers, He rescues, He provides, He heals and He makes all things new.
With this we can light up our Christmas trees, sing Christmas carols, make wishes, give gifts of encouragement and look forward to a memorable Christmas. In the Philippines, it has begun.