The Color of Christmas 2009

Our country experienced so many drab and sullen colors this year.  If we are to paint a portrait of the national situation, we will definitely miss the bright hues of years past, the luminous shades of “those happy days”.

Cory Aquino died this year, yielding to cancer of the colon.  With her demise, we lost not only a leader, but as the whole world acknowledged, the mother of democracy and freedom after martial law.  We once again saw the flood of yellow, but this time, yellow was not a color of courage and defiance.  When Cory died, yellow became a color of bereavement. We experienced the color of mourning.

Then came Ondoy, the eldest of the brood of storms that devastated the major city of Manila and nearby provinces.  Soon came the rest of the family – Pepeng, Santi, etc…, all destructive and deadly typhoons that finished off in faraway provinces what Ondoy, their eldest brother, started in the urban center. After the floods, we walked in a color of mud, a color of destruction, a color of loss.

Just weeks ago, while the media followed up on election wannabees all over the land, innocent people were massacred by a political lord in Mindanao. The world is still aghast at the brutality of our countrymen who were willing to kill for supremacy and control of the ballot.  Our country was wrapped in the color of blood, of death, of violence.

At the threshold of Christmas, many of our fellowmen and women in the Bicol region are stacked up in evacuation centers as the world famous perfect-coned Mayon volcano is preparing for what seems to be another major eruption.  These people can only see the color of fear and anxiety.

We experienced the color of mourning.  We endured the color of destruction.  We are shamed by the color of violence. And now, the color of fear looms over another natural disaster.  These colors, we cannot wave proudly to the world.  They press heavily on our shoulders and restrict our smiles.

In our personal lives, I know for certain, that there are so many other colors that you and I go through.  While we wax sentimental and reflective in these cold days before Christmas, we also reveal the true colors of our lives. 

Some see the color of anger over things that happened in the past.

Some feel the color of pain that makes mind, heart and body suffer.

Some touch the color of regret over mistakes they have mindlessly done.

Some of us admit that all over our homes is painted the color of division.

Many colors in the land, many colors in our personal lives… and many of them don’t jive well with a season of festivity and celebration.

When other people look at us, they are filled with pity.

When we consider our own fate, we are tempted to despair.

So it is natural, that this year, we ask the question:  can we still celebrate Christmas?  Can we still see the bright colors of the Christmas star?  Can sad colors of life give way to the powerful hues of brightness, joy and peace?

It is while pondering on this and while walking outside one evening, that I overheard a very small child, walking alongside her mother.  She was singing a tune – a happy tune that said: Salamat sa liwanag Mo, muling magkaka kulay ang Pasko! (Thanks to Your light, Christmas will once again be full of colors!)

Yes, indeed, from the eyes of children and from their lips, issue declarations of hope, renewal and courage!  Don’t you see, Christmas will always be colorful?  Christmas will paint beautiful colors around the world and within every heart!

It was meant to be that way.  Because Christmas is light!  And when the light shines, it reveals all the beautiful colors God brings in our world.

The first Christmas brought color to a world mired in sin.  This Christmas brings color to a world still struggling with sin, worries, anxieties and fears.  This Christmas will bring color to our hearts in spite of the events we have gone through in the past months and days. 

There is hope for the nation and hope for each one of us today – because the love of God flows from the manger to all our hearts.

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will  be for all people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ the Lord”.  This Child, God-with-us will give light to our hearts and enable us to see colors of joy, peace and hope.

Salamat sa liwanag Mo, muling magkaka kulay ang pasko!  Dahil ikaw Hesus, ang Star ng Pasko! (Thanks to your light, Christmas will once again be full of color!  Because it is You, Jesus, who are the Star of Christmas.)

Christmas is God’s love shining through the face of Jesus Christ.  Receive this light.  Open your hearts to this light.  Offer this light as hope for others.

Masaya at puno ng pag-asa ang kulay ng Pasko, dahil narito na si Kristo!  (The color of Christmas is joy and hope because Christ is here with us.)