Christmas in the year that wasn’t

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THIS HAS been a most unusual year.

The Christmas season, for all the glad tidings of comfort and joy it always brings, came like an old visitor aching for attention. It even hurt listening to Jose Mari Chan last September, when his carols officially heralded the country’s Yuletide months.

We reckon our time through events that lead to Christmas, and sadly this year, our usual calendar markers had to be deleted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What a killjoy, what a scrooge!

We had to skip the traditional “Welcome Walk,” and we never got to enjoy our face-to-face classes and the food Dapitan had to offer. A UAAP season and a half were canceled. Paskuhan was supposed to be our first-term stress ball after a mentally taxing academic battle. But we had to content ourselves with a virtual edition.

In addition to a freshly released first-term recap issue this December, we had to squeeze in this Christmas edition, to remind ourselves somehow we’re journalists and send out – albeit digitally – a season’s greeting card to the Thomasian community. It’s no secret that we, too, long for the UST campus and the Varsi office, and the sweet stench of stacked newspapers and aging computerware.

Having to deal with all the disruptions and our topsy-turvy lives, it’s easy to just let this year and this Christmas go by, and assign a footnote that can remind us how sad and difficult things have been.

But, because it’s shorn of the usual parties, gift-buying and all other Yuletide extravagances, Christmas has forced us to remember and focus on the simplicity of its roots and its message. We must have wandered too far away with our imagined devotions and our misplaced faith! We celebrate, after all, the humble birth, the transcendent life and the glorious mission of Him who “hath not where to lay his head.” Above anybody and anything else, this is for and about Him.

This most unusual Christmas time, let’s find ways to connect more profoundly with the true spirit of Christmas, as we tread through our socially-distanced and virtually-simulated existence that’s sore for meaning and uplifting. Let’s follow the lockdown restrictions not only to stay safe, but to delight as well in the opportunity to reconnect with God and with others.

And, as we anxiously await the coming of a vaccine that will provide much-needed relief from our present Covid cares, may we constantly reach out for the healing balm of the Lord’s tender mercies and abiding love.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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