December 09, 2021
Christmas is just around the corner. Can you feel it?
You may have noticed it because you just ordered the Season’s Greetings package of the K-pop group that you are following or perhaps you are really looking forward to it because it will give you the break you need from the stress of school.
Whatever the reason, I am sure that we can all agree that Christmas is the favorite season for a lot of people.
Due to the pandemic, this holiday has not been the same for the past 2 years. We can no longer do beso-beso and hugging like we used to at our reunions and family gatherings. Most of the buying and giving out of pamaskos are now usually done via mobile transfers and online shopping.
Even this special holiday is affected by the new normal.
This begs the question:
“How can we still celebrate Christmas this year even if many things have changed?”
One thing that I miss about the pre-pandemic Christmas season is attending countless Christmas parties with friends. These events would often make you buy or borrow outfits that suit the theme of the party.
Personally, I miss organizing them as an events person myself, even if it’s just being tapped to fetch the purchased shanghai and barbeque brings joy to my face. (Although I know we equally enjoy eating shanghai and barbecue, too!)
I am confident to say that you also miss the annual programs that your school or university prepares for students like the Lantern Parade or Paskuhan. Unfortunately, we can no longer be with our friends and attend these events face-to-face along with thousands of people.
Thankfully, technology is here to connect us with our peers.
There are a lot of ways for us to celebrate with our friends!
You can still do your Secret Santa (though some simply call it “exchange gift”). Just make sure you have the correct address of the person!
There are also a lot of online games, trivias, quizzes that you and your peers may try out together. I also recommend doing a watch party of the best Christmas movie out there, Die Hard. (We can talk about why this is so some other time!)
You and your friends can still bond and celebrate Christmas together, even online!
Most, if not all, will celebrate Christmas with their families at home. It may be very much the same as our pre-pandemic celebrations, but we may notice a few differences on how we will celebrate it even compared to last year.
For one, we may have lost one or a few family members to the virus or to other causes. It won’t ever be the same, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate their lives this season as well. Maybe we can take the time to honor our loved ones who passed away by reliving and cherishing memories with them.
Our celebration may be simple or grand. And that’s okay! It is already a favor that we get to eat and be together with our families this Christmas.
You can also be a blessing to your family by volunteering to set the table, cook some dishes, or wash the plates! It’s an opportunity to serve everyone because we know just how much this year has made us all feel how short life is.
For those who are not with their family year, a virtual celebration can also work. You can still serve them and make them feel special from afar.
In the Christmas parties I attended before, we usually allot time to speak life to and thank the people who made an impact in our lives. It usually comes in the form of a letter, a gift, or saying it in person and praying for them
This is one of the best ways, I believe, that we can celebrate Christmas. I know 2021 was a rough year for most because of the ongoing pandemic, which has kept us from living the way we used to. But then there are people who have helped us embrace and adjust to this new lifestyle and still thrive.
Take time to go through the things that have happened to you throughout the year and the people who stood by you and supported you, and then write down what you want to tell them. In whatever form or way you end up doing this, one “thank you” or “I’m proud of you” can be priceless to that person.
I am telling you, they will appreciate the gesture!
With all that has been said, actually there is a way we can still celebrate Christmas the way we used to do.
We can still have joy the same as before not because we can still receive gifts or eat a lot of good food, but because Christmas was never about how people embellish their homes and the streets with all the lights and decors.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all those moments—they’re often really instagrammable also! But I hope that we won’t be swayed by them.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We can find joy this season because we have received the greatest gift of all—God with us. Why does that matter so much?
That Jesus lived on earth among us means that He experienced temptation, hardship, and even negative emotions. He can understand us personally. He could be the Wonderful Counselor to our decisions and our sorrows, the Mighty God to our impossibilities and shortcomings, our Prince of Peace to our anxieties and grief, and Everlasting Father to us who all need someone to cry out to, remind us of our worth, and run to wherever and whenever.
Jesus coming here means there is hope for tomorrow despite the pains of yesterday and uncertainties of today. The “government” that is mentioned there speaks of His authority and sovereignty, meaning that nothing passes by without Him knowing.
We may not know what He is exactly doing now, just like the people in His time, but we know and can rest in the fact that it would be for our ultimate good.
We can celebrate Him and His birth because it only means that in Him and through Him, the best is ahead of us and not behind us.
Indeed, this season may we never forget the love we have for Jesus!