Real ChristmasBy Randell Tiongson on December 22nd, 2009
This appeared in my column at the Business Mirror in 2009
A few days ago, I was walking along Orchard Road in Singapore. I was marveling at how the huge department stores on that famous road were adorned with Christmas decorations. In fact, every store in Singapore was well-decorated: Orchard, Raffles, Bugis—all the commercial areas were intricately decorated for the holidays and were all beautiful.
In a few days I’ll be off to Hong Kong. I am pretty sure that like Singapore, Hong Kong will be just as beautifully decorated for Christmas, and by this time, it will be bustling with a lot of shoppers.
Christmas was originally a Christian holiday, commemorating the birth of our Savior, yet Singapore and Hong Kong are not predominantly Christian societies. Christmas has become a holiday everyone celebrates, regardless of religious affiliation.
While walking through the shopping areas at this time of the year can be a visual treat, the density of the shoppers can be an unpleasant encounter. Sifting through department stores, boutiques and all that trying to find the right gift for your loved ones can be challenging, especially for men like me. Don’t forget the many Christmas dinners you either host or attend.
What’s more maddening for me is the price tag this holiday carries. I am sure there are many out there who have no idea how much they spend during the holidays—and this is a perpetual issue year after year. Many times, we find that we overspent for the holidays again and vow to be more prudent the next year around.
Giving gifts to people you care about is a great gesture; kindness in any form is good, in my opinion. However, one must be mindful of the cost. Does this spending hurt the budget?
Worse, do you get in debt just to celebrate Christmas? What’s the real cost of all these? Why has rabid commercialism taken over such a holy celebration? Isn’t Christmas about Christ? Do we not celebrate this season to pay homage to the birth of our Savior who gave His life so we can be saved? What’s the connection between how we celebrate Christmas with our salvation through Christ? Jesus was born with utmost humility, in a manger.
I’m not trying to be a spoilsport; I love Christmas—giving and receiving gifts, attending parties and all that. But let us always remember the true essence of Christmas—that it is about Christ, not Santa. If we can really understand “real Christmas,” we would not need to be financially strained during the holidays. We can’t outgive the Lord because He has already given us the best gift we can ever receive; something we just need to take—Jesus Christ. Jesus is truly the reason for the season and we need to be reminded as such year after year.
Merry Christmas to all!
“The virgin will be with Child and will give birth to a Son, and they will call him ‘Immanuel’—which means, ‘God with us.’”
—Matthew 1:23, NIV