Anticipating Christmas in a trying year | Inquirer News

Anticipating Christmas in a trying year

/ 06:10 AM December 06, 2013

December this year opened with the First Sunday of Advent, the first of days of preparation for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ as a little Babe in a manger in Bethlehem.

Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD, says the season of Advent “is the acceptable time of salvation, the time to prepare to welcome the baby Jesus into our hearts and our lives, the time for peace and reconciliation and also the time for giving and sharing, especially to so many of our brothers and sisters in our country who are suffering.” And in the wake of the series of the recent natural calamities we have undergone, “Let us simplify our Christmas celebration and magnify the reason for the Christmas season: Jesus! Love, repentance, forgiveness should be emphasized and concretized, especially during this season.”

Fr. Tito Caluag, in last Sunday’s Philippine Daily Inquirer, wrote that “this Advent season may yet be the best we will have.” So “Let us prepare for Christmas with a prayer that we may be given the grace to get in touch again with our “naked desire for God’.”


Was it significant that the Comet Ison being visible to the naked eye in the northern hemisphere this year through December, should remind us of the Star in the sky that says “let there be Light” in the dark night to lead the three Magi from their country to the Baby Jesus in his manger in Bethlehem? And that our Christmas lanterns or parol are star-shaped to remind us that Christ continues to light our present “dark night in Time” as we celebrate His yearly Christmas coming?


So a little late this year, but timely, actually, in the aftermath of trying calamities, our representation of the Nativity or Belen is now set up in our homes. And last Sunday, too, the traditional giant Christmas tree sponsored for the last 11 years by M. Lhuillier at Fuente Osmeña, with the Belen at its base, stood after having been felled by Yolanda, its restoration and lighting was celebrated with fireworks and music.

Then last Monday, the Embassy of Canada announced that Cebu Daily News publisher Eileen Mangubat is the 2013 Marshall McLuhan Fellow. As a veteran journalist, publisher and acting editor-in-chief of Cebu Daily News, she is “recognized for her noteworthy efforts to steer and maintain an independent and professional community press in Cebu.” She is also the third community journalist to receive the McLuhan fellowship. She delivered her inaugural lecture at the annual Marshall McLuhan Forum on Responsible Journalism.

Congratulations, Eileen. We are proud to be working with you!

Before I go on as a Bystander celebrating the passage of time, let me go back to a significant date after my deadline last week. Nov. 30th, traditionally observed as Bonifacio Day, an official holiday observed by the country, this year was celebrated as the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, the Supremo of the Katipunan. This year, his monument was unveiled in Cebu City at the Plaza Independencia.

According to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are called national heroes because they are recognized as heroes on a “national level.” In a compilation by the Inquirer Research, “while no laws have been passed proclaiming a national hero, several laws and proclamations have been issued honoring them, including those declaring Bonifacio’s Nov. 30 birth anniversary a holiday, and Rizal’s death anniversary, Dec. 30, a day of national mourning.”

While I remember from way back that Jose Rizal has been considered the Philippine national hero, recently other groups would rather consider Andres Bnifacio as our national hero. Why not consider both of them national heroes, Rizal for his intellectual pursuit of national independence in advocacy and writing, and Bonifacio for putting into action in war his pursuit of independence? In both pursuits, they both suffered heroic martyrdom?


And now for a personal involvement in a community cultural group. We of the Cebu United Radio and TV Artists (CURTA), Corp., at our monthly meeting last Sunday at the Rizada residence in Tisa, Cebu City, discussed details for our forthcoming annual Christmas party scheduled on December 14th, our annual Panaygon fundraising project for our needy members, including our “Operitang Hilaw” regarding details including tickets and sponsorship, scheduled for February 22, 2014, our late founder Emil Rizada Jr.’s birth anniversary.

This season also marked the passing away of heroes in their own right, including World War II veteran hero Col. Manuel Segura, during the Japanese occupation of Cebu. His nephew, The Freeman columnist Valeriano “Bobit” Avila, reported this week the arrival of Segura’s remains in Japan. Philippine heroine June Keithley-Castro also passed away last week at age 66 after losing her battle against breast cancer. She was one of the key players during the Edsa People Power Revolution, as announcer of the rebel radio station Radyo Bandido, that called Filipinos to support the forces that broke away from former president Ferdinand Marcos. June’s husband was the son of Angelo Ruiz Castro, our first program manager of pioneer Cebu Radio Station dyRC, where I started my radio broadcasting career on Sept. 21, 1947, and which was closed during the Martial Law decaration on Sept. 27, 1972, exactly 25 years after its inauguration! Memories, memories.

Late last month, Caroline Kennedy, the new US Ambassador to Japan, said the spirit of her father, former president John F. Kennedy (JFK) lives on even if his life was cut short by assassination. Last Friday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of then US President John F. Kennedy.

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Until next week, then, with more Bystander-ing to share with you, may God continue to bless us, one and all!

TAGS: Christmas

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