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What remains after the holiday

By Maria Lisa Pascua - Villanueva

The long holiday is over and everyone is back to normal activities. Be it to our work, school or for those who have the opportunity to spent the season in other places, they are back to their home or post. With the uncertainty and challenges of the coming days, we all have highs hopes, strength and belief to face whatever the future holds. What remains of the past are the experiences, memories and realizations that made us who we are now and what we will be.

Blessed to have 50 Christmases and New Year behind me, after all I’ll admit it has brought me to a point that the Birth of our Savior has a more meaningful purpose to me.

The joy of Christmas when we were young is incomparable. It is a happiness meant only for the innocent minds. Those were the days when we look forward to seeing Santa Claus, receiving gifts, eating stuffs that are most available during the holiday season like quezo de bola, ham, tamales, chocolates specially wrapped for the season, nuts, fruit cake, apples and oranges (which are rarely sold in the fruit stand unlike today).

Back home, few days before Christmas, my mother would save the coins for giveaway on Christmas Day along with candies and those paper bills straight from the bank. With my siblings and I, our eyes grow big in awe to see plenty of coins, candies and paper bills. We would even asked for it. I remember Nanay always telling us that Christmas is not ours. In our young minds, it is very hard to comprehend. She would add that we have foods in the table the whole year through and we were provided with everything we need. True enough, but asking for just a piece of candy, we would always be reminded that Christmas is not for us is something that a selfish mind of a child would leave a little disappointment for us.

We moved in the big city for our college education. There are times when it was only us who came home during Christmas and be with out grandparents. I heartily continued the tradition of giving coins and candies. It was heart warming and joyful to share our blessings.

Growing up, we also outgrown hopes of meeting Santa Claus face to face and having enough time to spend the whole Christmas day with him. We learned who Santa Claus is. We no longer have to join the line hoping that Nanay would also give us coins and candies. And most of all, we understand now what Nanay meant when she told us that Christmas is not ours.

Thankful to my parents along with our grandparents to have those happy memories of Christmas as young ones with my eight siblings and for making us feel what is Christmas then to our innocent minds. We started to have a family of our own. I got married and blessed with seven children. My grandmother left when we were still in college, my father when I was 25, my grandfather days after I got married and another grandmother a week before she could have completed her 101st birthday. I was widowed at age 47.

I had 50 Christmases of different heights. I celebrated all of them in abundance and in not so much, through a lot of challenges and hard work, in joys and in pains with the love of my family and friends. My childhood Christmas wishes were not all granted, some I have outgrown through time and still others I am looking forward to receive in due time with God’s providence. My children were all grown up now, we are still lacking in a lot of ways specially that I am raising them alone and the expenses for their education is not a joke but we are okay. Our faith and hard work would see us through. My children may have a better understanding that Christmas is not for them because they know what it is to have nothing then, than when I was a child. It is also the reason why they have a heart more willing to share even when we have not so much.

My Christmas and New Year hopes and wishes is no longer for me. It is for those I hold dear in my heart. Some of them I have the opportunity to extend my hand though despite my insufficiency. But many of them I never know and they do not know me just the same. My hopes and wishes are for all who have nothing in life, those almost losing hope, those who were abandoned and neglected, those forgotten souls, those weary ones, those victims of injustice, the sick and the poor, the lonely and distressed, those who are grieving and very sorry for their mistakes. May they find comfort and love and feel the hope every Christmas and New Year could bring.

Years may change, dreams and aspirations may modify, activities may alter, we may have different perspectives, we may shift gears, feeling and emotions varies, we may revise our plans, adjust our goals, fix projects, diverse our intentions, substitute programs and many more. But we are all certain that every New Year brings us opportunities to take us to the path we are heading to and be the best that we can be not only for our selves but for the welfare of the majority, after all, it is the essence of the holiday season.


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