While I was using the restroom this morning, I overheard our security guard and one utility girl talk about receiving (and worse, the possibility of not) their Christmas bonuses this year.
Both were worried of two different things: one, of receiving a very small amount, and fearing it might not be enough; and two, of not receiving anything at all, and fearing how her family will ever manage through the holidays without anything. They further lamented how everything is so expensive nowadays. “Parang ginto, ultimong pang sahog lang. Pambayad lang sa mga bills, kulang pa. Wa na pang Noche Buena,” one of them said. “Wala na. Tulugan na lang. Lilipas din naman.”
“Wala na. Tulugan na lang. Lilipas din naman.”
Two seemingly different circumstances, but evoking the same kind of emotions: fear, sadness, emptiness, hopelessness. Feelings that one normally does not associate with Thanksgiving or Christmas.
To me, what’s even more unfortunate, is that we associate money (funds) and expenses with the holidays. We associate Christmas with the food we will be serving and feasting on during Noche Buena; with gifts, new clothes, and videoke.
Thanksgiving, or more appropriately in our case, Christmas is not about mom’s spaghetti, or ate’s fruit salad, or lola’s embotido. Nor is it about partying like it’s our last day on Earth. No one questions the traditions we have come to know and live by, but maybe just as a fervent hope that we realize that more than the gatherings, where we can dine, wine, and be merry; more than the gifts we will painstakingly choose, buy, wrap, and give; more than the new clothing we will be parading in — even for just a moment we pause, realize, and acknowledge: one, what we’re (most or should be, no matter how simple) thankful for; and two, what we are actually celebrating.
Maybe, and hopefully, if we do just that, then we would not be as fearful, sad, empty, or hopeless as we are now.