“Freely ye have received, freely give.” —Matthew 10:8

DO YOU believe in Santa Claus?

I used to believe in Santa when I was a kid. My elder brother and I would excitedly look for the largest socks we could find and hang them on the window near the front door so Santa wouldn’t have a hard time looking for them once he arrived with our presents. When the long hand of the clock would strike 12, we would hurry to look for the presents we had asked him on a piece of paper.

Being the naughty kids that we were, my brother and I didn’t always get what we wanted. One Christmas, I received candies instead of the Barbie doll that I had asked, while my brother was given chocolates instead of the He-Man action figure he had wished for.

Since then, my brother and I became conscious of our attitudes to please Santa. We started to obey everything our mother told us. We would take our siesta obediently even if we were dying to play outside and would submit ourselves to eating vegetables despite its gruesome taste. I even let my hair be cut short to my mom’s delight. Our mom and aunts would only remind us of Santa’s “detective elves” who allegedly regularly reported to him the list of naughty children.

Our belief of Santa remained until I turned 10 and my brother 12. On that Christmas eve, we found ourselves finding two small Ladybug books in our socks instead of the gifts we wished from him. Only then did we realize that it wasn’t Santa who was giving us the presents all along, but our aunt, who even bought those gifts personally with my brother.

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On the next Yuletide season, I began courting my parents, rather than the fictive Santa I had dreamed of, to buy me the presents I always wanted. From wishing a little pink dress at 11, I began wishing for an Apple laptop at 18. But despite years of ignoring Santa’s existence, I ironically started to prove his presence.

Whenever I hear about people helping street kids receive formal education, food and clothing, I realize how wise God has been to have sent good-hearted people as gifts to these children, and not toys wrapped in fancy paper that wear out in time.

With that inspiration, I started taking little steps to make myself available to help less-fortunate kids. When my high school teacher asked me to join her and other students on a visit to an orphanage near my former school, I suddenly felt the calling to a personal mission. We served the children lunch and snacks. We sang and played with them. We also helped them with their homework.

Before our visit ended, we gave them little stuff like books and pens that they could use in their studies. And then, when we were about to leave, a little girl held my hand and said, “Ate, thank you.” It was a short but sweet remark that held me speechless for a while. In exchange, I touched her hair and smiled. I felt so light-hearted at that.

From there I started to participate in outreach programs whenever opportunity comes. I joined the UNESCO-UST Club, believing that the organization would introduce me to other ways of helping other people. With every project we do, no matter how small they seem, I feel happy and contented. I have realized that I can also be a Santa in my own little way. Being a Santa to me now means not giving whatever gift people want, but that gift they really need, that which each of us alone can give.

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Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for all the blessings that You’ve showered upon us. Continue to bless Your children, especially those less fortunate who have no one to cling to for help. Touch the hearts of those fortunate that they may be inspired to share their blessings not only on Christmas but all days of their lives. Amen. Jenny Lei P. Ravelo

The contributor, Jenny Lei P. Ravelo, is a Journalism junior from the Faculty of Arts and Letters. She writes for the UST Journalism Society’s official newsletter, The Journalese.

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