The quarantine chronicles: Week 31  

Published October 16, 2020, 4:19 PM

by Alex M. Eduque


Alex Eduque
Alex Eduque

When I turned on my television last Sunday, and tuned in to a variety show, the opening number was a medley of Filipino Christmas carols. Although we are well into the “ber” months, I must admit that the past month has been excessively busy for me for personal reasons that I have not had much time to leisurely sit and chill at all. I will not lie – part of me misses the early quarantine months of lazing around and slow living, but I am not at all complaining. After all, this “new normal” for me is still at a much slower pace than the “old normal” if you will that I was accustomed to. And seeing the world get back on its feet, and the economy opening up slowly has been quite hopeful, and gives us the sense of invigorating and positive energy that we all need and seek these days.

And so there I was – caught off-guard as “Kumukuti-kutitap” was sung, fading into “Pasko Na Sinta Ko” and then ending with “Pasko Na Naman.” Before I knew it, a smile was upon my face. I have always been fond of Christmas carols, and have always found something so cheery and motivating in them. To me, it has always been the quickest “pick-me-upper” and mood up lifter even in the busiest December grind I have found myself in. And then there are the Filipino carols that resonate with me even more, and just tug at my heart strings. Whether they emulate the ringing of bells, the momentum of blinking Christmas lights, or the longing sentiments of being far away from home during the holidays, it captures emotions like no other. At a time when I expected it the least, it worked its charm and put me into a festive mood during a time when Christmas admittedly is the last thing on my mind. It got me thinking – what will Christmas be like this year?

Much more muted and quiet, most definitely. A lot less traveling, if any at all, and perhaps for some, the first time families gather in numbers, but with much added precautionary measures. Perhaps this is the time when we will realize the truest meaning and essence of Christmas – that it is not about the gifts surrounding the tree, nor the traditions that we have upheld and kept for years. That in fact, Christmas is about being with your loved ones, and after the year that has been, there is no other Christmas I feel when togetherness will be valued more than this upcoming one. Perhaps this is the year to forego material gifts all together, or if you feel it is compulsory, donate to a cause on behalf of your family and friends in lieu of a token. As ironic as it may seem, this holiday season will perhaps have the Christmas spirit ringing loudest and true.

The spirit of sharing and giving – not only to those around you, but most especially, to those who need it most. The homecoming of balikbayans and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s) will be even more cherished given the pandemic, and the time they will get to spend with their families, invaluable. Truly, the gift of time is one that is most precious and irreplaceable. For many, Christmas this year might even be dreaded given tight budgets and the hurdle that has been 2020, but knowing the Filipino spirit and resiliency, I believe our people will overcome – we always have, and always will find a way to celebrate even at the grimmest of times and situations. After all, we are not the Christmas capital of the world for nothing.

Heads and chins up high, seek the silver lining, and focus on the positive. Even in the absence of carolers, Simbang Gabi and the non-stop merry-making, let the Christmas bells and spirit ring through to your heart. After all, we celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. And the truest essence of it is to let Him into our homes and hearts by realizing what Christmas truly means, and practicing its very meaning throughout the Yuletide season and always.