It’s the second day of the 12th Day of Christmas today (based on the Liturgical Calendar) and probably some of us were smiling and crying at the same time, beginning Christmas Eve. I don’t want to be a Scrooge, but that’s reality. For us grieving persons, Christmas will always be incomplete, having to feel a certain void in the spaces occupied by my son and my father. It is the first time this Christmas not to have them both. So yeah, I shed tears in the morning, hearing a song, seeing a dramatic scene on television, and those uncontrollable bits of thoughts of the way they died. And then there is this longing for all of the family members to be present. We grew up with this. Just like Boholanons who goes home every fiesta, Filipino families always target going home for Christmas. But then again, life’s circumstances will not make some families complete this time. It could be a misunderstanding, concealed hatred and changed of priorities. We can’t force people to like us and be with us, even from our own family. In another angle, some of us, mothers and fathers maybe in tears for being unable to achieve a “Merry Christmas” setting — financially. Some are lurking in corners, in tears without anything or lesser food to eat, unable to buy the toys and wants of the kids. This could still be happening in families where the breadwinner lost a job or is high on debt even the bonuses are not enough to pay. It is difficult to define Christmas when we have a level to cope with based on the set-ups we grew up with but it is okay to have room for tears, just a little.
For if we really try to the real reason why Christmas is celebrated, the “Nativity Scene” in itself is a manifestation of “tearful”, yet wonderful and victorious package! To the grieving –Baby Jesus is born yet he is destined to die. That’s the reality. The day is celebrated accepting that, Jesus will soon be taken away, gruesomely from his family, from his people. This hit me, as a grieving mother. Acceptance. This is for us who lost a loved one. People surrounding us are just borrowed. We are being lent to others, as parent, as daughter, as son, co-worker, lover. Acceptance. To the incomplete family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph do not compose a normal family. Joseph is not the father of Jesus. He married Mary who was already pregnant not of his. Acceptance. Family comes in any form how much more when blood connects us? Acceptance of flaws (yourself included); and accepting the blessings of healing and forgiveness, at the right time. I believe too that these should come unforced. Acceptance, when one family member, decided to cut the ties, after exerting all available efforts to make him or her stay. To those who feel they have less – Baby Jesus is dressed in swaddling clothes, in a manger (or in a cave based on other accounts), probably not much food for the new Mother Mary, no lechon, no electric fan, not even a decent bed. Acceptance. No further explanation needed. Tears are normal, tears are okay..these washes away the pain, makes our eyes see clearer. Let us cry if we want. We have our own definition of Christmas. Acceptance makes it meaningful. Of course, expect and accept all the good stuffs that goes with it too. May we have more Merry Paskos as we go onstage life!