Monday, December 24, 2012
It is not only just about losing faith in Santa Claus, his elves, his reindeer and his flying sleigh and his squeezing of his corpulent bulk into tight chimneys on Christmas Eve. It is not just about learning the hard way that Christmas is not really about pine trees with icicles, snow covered landscapes, white-capped mountains and Frosty the Snowman with his black top hat and all the other rubbish that seeks to implant in our Filipino culture and consciousness the ridiculous traditions and belief systems of cultures from far distant climes and locations.
It is not just even about having one's eyes being suddenly opened to the crass commercialization of the whole Christmas idea, the insidious propagation of the delusion that holiday happiness and festive cheer can be purchasable like most instant goodies prepackaged in a box and ready to be unleashed and used at one's choosing anytime and anywhere.
In the end, nothing ruins more the child's illusions about Christmas and the Yuletide celebrations than the sudden apprehension of the indomitable fact that he had been, for the entirety of his short life, been the willing victim of a monumental scam and that the very adults he trusted more than anybody else in the world including his very own parents have been more than eager and enthusiastic participants in the deception.
Or course, the child will later understand that adults all help promote the Christmas myth not out of malice or the malevolent intent to hurt or deceive but out of a genuine desire to make the Yuletide experience exceptionally special for all their children and young ones. By promoting and participating in the marketing of the myth, they hope to lift the celebration of the festivities from the realm of the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Thus when they become adults and parents themselves, they become like their own parents before them, trapped in the the never-ending cycle of innocent myth-making and deception. All acting out of love and the eagerness to shield their offspring at least for the short period of their innocence from the harsh and often unforgiving realities of life in the real world by providing them with a fantasy world to believe in and temporarily seek refuge in.
Eventually the child as he matures realizes that far the beyond the spiritual dimension of the Christmas celebration and in spite of the myth-making and commercialization that accompanies the Yuletide season, the festivities are actually about what is what is the most important things in his life - his family, his friends and relatives and loved ones. It is the time to celebrate the ties that link people together, a chance to reconnect and to draw emotional and spiritual strength from each other in preparation for the challenges of the new year to come.
Even families torn from each other by vast physical distances realize the importance of joining together if not in fact but in spirit, often relying on the far-reaching and invisible tendrils of the internet and digital communications technology that have all but encompassed the world in order to keep in touch at this time of the year. They more than normal families who can actually celebrate physically together know how priceless these temporary links are and how much those who they love and who have been separated from them by necessity need to reconnect even virtually if not in reality with their kin.
In truth, I do not begrudge the fact that there was a time in my innocence when I too put my trust in Santa Claus who went around on Christmas Eve rewarding the good and bypassing the not so good. I once was a believer in everything that was magical and enchanting about Christmas.
Nowadays, of course, I have come to realize painfully and by the benefit of long and hard experience that the true magic about Christmas is not in the fantastical and the imaginary but actually in where it has always been in the first place. It is in ourselves.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.