Christmas is in our hearts

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By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

As the years continue to descend on mankind, there seems to be some truth to a well-documented observation that “Christmas is for children.”

Perhaps it is because children, among all age groups, eagerly await the arrival of this particular holiday season.

Perhaps because children are led to believe (and they really do) that Santa Claus will remember them via his loads of presents should they ‘behave’ all year round. kids-3

Perhaps because the younger ones feel Christmas is theirs because all settings of the season – from shopping mall displays to TV commercials — include them. Whether it’s a wintry background, a scene around the Christmas tree, or the singing of Christmas carols, the happy faces of children fill the air. Christmas is never the same without a childlike presence.

So, how do we gauge children’s reactions to their looking forward to Christmas?

It’s safe to state adults try to find out what their particular child/children anticipate to receive.

Toys continue to remain as top choices on Santa’s lists. Fortunately, there are notices and warnings to adults about certain toys to ensure that children are safe with their gifts. Also remaining high on the list is wearing red-and-green apparel as the season requires.

What is heartening to witness is when adults look around for reading materials, artwork material, and appropriate games to give to their little recipients.

As soon as the first week of December appears on the scene, the atmosphere of Christmas permeates the environment. There is the energy. There is a certain excitement. There is the music.

Even items from your mailbox will tell you to remember your favorite charities. And if they are non-profit organizations asking you for your usual gifts to the unfortunate, those requests are difficult to ignore.

The Philippines’ celebration of Christmas is said to be the longest in the world. It starts with the ‘Simbang Gabi’ (mass at daybreak) on December 16 through the sixth of January, the Feast of the Three Kings.

For those who are late for Christmas Day, gift givers at this feast are still considered punctual because they believe that the well-known arrival of the Three Kings who paid homage to the Infant Jesus is what started the spirit of Christmas.

How many among us who consider these frontiers our adopted land, continue to believe that our ancestral home still pursues the Christmas spirit through January 6, as a new year is on the horizon?

At best, therefore, all those who remember the meaning of the coming of Christ in their lives and live it to spread the ‘how’ on observing the event, underscore the ever-endearing theme: Christmas is in the heart.

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