THAT second night of December was definitely not like any other monotonous nights I spent inside my alma mater for the past four years that I’ve been here. Seeing yellow lights and lanterns adorn the Plaza Mayor, the Main Building, and the Arch of the Centuries made me feel awe and nostalgia, partly because it was my last year, but mostly because I felt that the moment was priceless.

A song may deem it the ‘season to be jolly’, to some, the ‘season of giving’, but for some people like American novelist and playwright Edna Ferber, Christmas is a ‘feeling’, rather than a time-constrained feast.

When I was a child, I never saw Christmas as Jesus’ birthday, despite being schooled in a Catholic institution since elementary. I get too excited for Christmas because everyone in our family wears their biggest smiles, hugs and kisses are everywhere, and for the best part, there is gift-giving.

I remember when I waited two Christmases for a huge doll house, which I never received. Desperate to get one, I even dedicated a part of my savings to that. But as I grew up, I have realized that such thing would not even be useful. I just saved my money and was able to buy myself some decent clothes for our Christmas party. I was happy.

Now, I find myself fascinated by how ‘Christmas spirit’ waves the magic wand and turns every bad vibe to a positive mood—enemies turn friends, families reunite, and couples rekindle.

This is also the time of the year that every Thomasian looks forward to, with the much-awaited Paskuhan, where UST attempts to create its very own version of Christmas by throwing a huge celebration for everyone.

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But the Paskuhan 2010 is no ordinary celebration as the University is nearing its 400th anniversary. Expect everything to be multiplied threefolds—bigger celebration, more performers, and more never-before-seen activities.

Beyond the efforts to achieve perfection, Christmas or Paskuhan cannot be deemed successful if Thomasians themselves do not know what it means or the reason why the University will hold a grand celebration for it.

Perhaps to the world’s richest man Carlos Slim Helu, Christmas is all about donating millions to charity institutions.

But to a farmer who raises his three children alone, it is already Christmas when he has all of his children with him for a simple dinner inside their hut.

Hence, Christmas is a feeling, innate in every one of us, a sleeping thought waiting to be awakened by affection and charity.

Like deafblind author and lecturer Helen Keller said, “the only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.”

We may see different interpretations of ‘Christmas’, but remember that it cannot be measured by gifts or celebrations but through our every effort to strive for happiness even in the face of misery. Perseverance will always pay in the end.

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Last December 11, the Varsitarian held its grand alumni homecoming, which brought together former V staff members, including literary giants, journalists, professors, priests, and other successful professionals in different fields.

Though it was not easy uniting numerous generations of campus paper writers, artists, and photographers in a single place, it was nice to hear them share the pride and fondness that they have for being a part of the V family.

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The reunion made me remember a random story that boosted my ego—a member of another prominent campus newspaper referred to the Varsitarian and to the staff as “legends”. Our predecessors were deemed “living legends” in every sense of the word.

Looking back, I think that the compliment is more of a challenge—a duty to always be competent, compassionate, and committed Thomasians who live up to the rich legacy that the 82 years (we’re turning 83 next January) of the Varsitarian has bestowed upon us.

Again, cheers to the Varsitarian and all of its ‘living legends’!

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