Christmas tree blues and decors

>> Tuesday, January 3, 2017


This Yuletide Season, people will decorate their rooms, prepare food and gifts, and try to be merry. But in the middle of the cheerful atmosphere, others are reminded of their lack of privileges or poorness. Their children’s eyes peek through openings of fences of more affluent neighbors partying in the garden, dreaming that someday they will also have enough food on their table.
Christmas time also brings the blues and heartaches as it helps re-ignite the past that used to be bountiful and filled with happiness. And the Yuletide Season becomes bitter for many whose love ones are no longer with them.
No matter how shiny the gifts are, they only make the poor poorer. Every time the birth of Jesus comes near and the New Year approaches, children everywhere, rich or poor, expect to receive gifts. But the rich and well-off are the ones that are assured of that eventuality.
The practice of gift-giving has been implanted incorrectly in societies all over since the start of Christianity. But it should not have been in the first place because Christmas and the birth of Christ should not be leveled with the love for material things.
Preachers have the role to correct misimpressions of what Christmas is all about and how the birth of Christ is celebrated. Of course we all want to receive and give gifts but timing is important and Christmas should not be the reason to do it.
I do not remember how many times I received gifts during Christmas time when I was a young schoolboy. But I do remember clearly that I get a new pair of shoes and a new pair of pants before the school year opens. When my shoes wear out and the pants are nearly tattered, my parents make sure that I get new ones. I believe my parents were practicing Christmas the right way – giving the proper gifts at the proper time.
I am disturbed when celebrities on TV in their kapamilya, kapuso and whatever kapasikat programs discuss new shiny gift items they give or receive. The next best thing to do is to switch channel, not because I envy and salivate by looking at the gifts but I find my condition more reduced. The poor who watch these shows certainly feel even less fortunate.
One priceless gift was sent to me in a text message from someone whom I truly adore. It said: There are many reasons why some good things do not last. But there is only one explanation to it… “The best is yet to come.” The message gives us hope, especially at these trying times.
Environmental awareness may have compelled Yuletide season followers to shift from using Pine Trees to other plants. This, as far as the Cordillera where Pine Trees grow, is concerned. In other parts of the world, Christmas trees made of plastic are sold in department stores.
It made no difference whether the tree was real or plastic, the important thing is that the trees were used to celebrate Christmas according to one’s wishes.
Christmas trees that were first developed in Germany in the 15th century were traditionally decorated with apples, nuts and other foods, and lighted with candles. After the discovery of electricity, the candles were replaced by Christmas lights. Today, a star is placed at the top of the tree to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and a ceramic angel to represent Angel Gabriel.
In contrast, evergreen trees and wreaths that preceded Christmas trees were used to symbolize eternal life. This was observed by the Chinese, Hebrews and Egyptians. The Vikings and the pagans in Europe also practiced “tree worship”. Even after their conversion to Christianity, they adorned their houses with evergreens in the New Year to “scare away the devil, keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.
My old man has already prepared rocks and soil in a big can a few days before December. By then, he has looked around for a good size of a live Pine Tree from a group of Pine seedlings. These have grown naturally on a hill planted to pineapples just a few steps away from the old house at New Lucban. Then on the first day of the last month of the year, we wake up surprised to find a tree standing in the living room.
Many years ago, the tree that I decorated was that of a coffee plant I found scattered in the garden. Years later, we had a Christmas tree cut from a big branch of a wild Guava tree that grew on the hill above the house. There was really no need to sacrifice a young Pine Tree.
A Christmas tree does not have to be big but it is better that it is a living tree that has roots and appears to be full of energy so that it can be replanted after it has served its purpose.
Wishing you all the best this Christmas and in the years to come.


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