Thursday, December 22, 2011

Celebrating the reason for the season.

One downside of Facebook is it gives people a platform to criticize, to vent, and to rant even on every mundane thing imaginable albeit at the expense of other people. Scrolling through our FB wall would give us a variety of posts and shout outs that will elicit varied reactions. There are cute lines that will make us smile, quotes from famous people and Bible verses which can inspire us, observations that we can agree or disagree and there are those offensive rants that are best to be ignored. Of course, there are people who would use the social networking site to brag about their new gadgets, new house or new partner. And how can I forget those people who are obviously out to get their 10 seconds of fame? They will do everything just to get the public’s attention.

What I cannot stomach is when people act as if they have the monopoly of intelligence and the rest of the world are full of idiots. Believe me, I struggled very hard last night to control my emotions and resist the temptation to reply to a post from a college acquaintance who unintentionally (I hope) caught my ire. Now I know why it is a big no-no to discuss religion or religious beliefs in social platforms. It may be a simple statement for someone expressing his/her sentiments against a certain belief but it can be very offensive to other people who chose to subscribe to that dogma.

To further illustrate, this college acquaintance posted a video of a TV personality discussing the origin of Christmas. It was an old theory that Jesus was not really born on December 25 unlike what Catholics and some Christians choose to believe. This was based on the details stated in the Bible that there were shepherds and sheep out on the night when Jesus was born which they say is not very likely to happen on a winter or in December for that matter. The TV personality also said that December 25 was associated before with the pagan festival. Emperor Constantine was mentioned in the report that, if I can recall it right, is responsible for the integration of Pagan festivities with Christian tradition. I used to subscribe to this idea when I was in my rebellious days. But then I choose to worship the reason than the occasion.

Going back to the post from this college acquaintance, she started defining pagan and then she commented that she didn’t see brain in the last part when the TV personality reported that the date of the celebration is not actually the date of Jesus’ birth but then at the end he still encourages the people to celebrate Christmas on the same date.

First, I would be more surprised if the TV personality starts maligning the belief of the majority of the Philippine population. It will be sheer stupidity to shoot the belief of 80 or 90% of the population who celebrate Christmas. That is totally nonsense. Echoing the belief of the majority is a safer stance especially when you are in broadcast media competing for viewership. Second, what the TV personality reported is possibly from one scholarly source but is not bedrock truth. There are other sources that are claiming that the December 25 date of the nativity is valid.

At the end of the day, I believe that what is important is the reason for the season, not the date. Unfortunately, we are more intent on worshiping the occasion than the reason. The reason for the celebration is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who came into the world and died to save us from our sins.

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