Tag Archives: Christmas Day

We pray amid poverty in Christmas

“Silent night! Holy night! Guiding star, lend thy light!” J. MOIER

By Alex P. Vidal

CAN prayers save us from poverty? Will there be a miracle if we pray hard for gifts and for Santa Claus and his reindeer to knock on our doors this Christmas season?

Francis Galton, the progenitor of human genetics, said in his 1872 Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer, that he could find no evidence that prayer is effective. Galton found no scientific grounds for believing that prayers are answered. But he conceded that “prayer can strengthen resolve and relieve distress.”

Because of poverty, many of us continue to find it increasingly impossible to enjoy “the most exciting season of the year”, the season that carries a strong emotional resonance for many Filipinos. We continue to pray nonetheless. We believe that “prayers can move mountains,” as the saying goes.

As obedient Christians, we continue to follow the church-mandated traditions on how to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas is probably ideal only for those who don’t have a daily bout with financial difficulties.

Many people now begin to believe and realize that society celebrates the so-called season of the birth of Christ heavily from the commercial point of view. We equate Christmas with material possessions.

When think of gifts, decorations, parties, wines, caroling, merrymaking, vacation, etcetera, we think of extra funds and extra expenses.


Christmas has become synonymous to expenses and money. Without extra funds, many Christians tend to develop a morbid feeling of insecurity and inadequacy.

How can one actively take part in Christmas parties and gift-giving binges if he does not even have enough to buy a decent meal for his family?

However, we can always celebrate the Yuletide season on a different perspective: embracing the spirits of love, humility, simplicity, forgiveness, hope and understanding.

Expecting nothing and continue living a simple life is a key to overcoming anxiety, stress, emotional and mental anguishes if we don’t have economic capacity and abundance in life.

A very interesting piece about science and Christmas has rekindled the debate whether the scientific worldview somehow undermine the religious beliefs that are the basis of Christmas for so many people.

Science has been viewed suspiciously as a force that turned people away from God ever since 1916, according to Roger Highfield, author of The Physics of Christmas. In that year, an oft-cited survey by James Leuba of Bryn Mawr University found that 60 percent of American scientist did not believe in God.

Highfiled revealed that the finding caused a scandal at that time, prompting warnings from politicians about the evils of modernism and accusations that scientists were leading college students away from religion.


Leuba himself predicted that disbelief among scientists would only increase in the future.

“But research conducted recently, repeating the 1916 survey word for word, has proven Leuba wrong,” Highfield contends. “The proportion of scientists who believe in God has remained almost unchanged in the past eight years, despite the enormous leaps of discovery made during this century.”

Highfield cited Edward Larson, from the University of Georgia, and Larson’s colleague Larry Witham, from Burtonsville, Maryland, who questioned 600 scientists listed in the 1995 edition of American Men and Women of Science. It reportedly achieved the same results as Leuba: about 40 percent of scientists believe in God.

“The future of Christmas and Hanukkah in our increasingly technological age seems assured,” concludes Highfield.

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in CHRISTMAS


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Don’t cancel Christmas parties

“Make an effort to attend every Christmas party you’re invited to, even if you can only stay a few minutes.” UNKNOWN  

By Alex P. Vidal

While we commiserate with our brothers and sisters in Central Visayas who lost their family members, homes and livelihood in the Yolanda mayhem, we should not use the tragedy as main reason why we will not hold Christmas parties this month of December. 
Christmas parties are not just about food and expensive decorations and gifts. They are part of Filipino tradition, as well as tradition practiced in the Christian world. Some of us use the occasion to hold family or class reunions, at the same time; a chance get-together event to reminisce the past and remember loved ones who have departed and those who are now living abroad. 
A Christmas party is one huge occasion where office mates, relatives, business partners, neighbors, friends and lovers gather to renew their ties, rebuild relationships, settle disputes “in the spirit of Christmas” and share gifts among themselves.


Sometimes long lost friends and relatives are able to meet only during Christmas parties when they have the opportunity to use the Yuletide season to temporarily leave their workplace and be with their families and friends.
We don’t find it scandalous if we proceed with our Christmas parties this Yuletide season as long as they are not so lavish and we don’t waste food and money. As long as the parties are simple and far from the extravagance we normally see in hotels and mansions of the rich and famous, our conscience will not bother us. God won’t get mad at us.
Holding a Christmas party does not mean that we will stop caring for our hungry and homeless countrymen in Central Visayas. Relief operations will not be set aside if we hold Christmas parties. Foreign donors won’t stop coming in if we hold Christmas parties. Our concerns and sympathies are intact–with or without Christmas parties.
It’s another story if we remain callous and insensitive with the victims’ plight and miseries and have not done anything to extend help in whatever means, yet we proceed with grandiose parties even if we are aware many of them still can’t eat three decent square meals a day in evacuation centers.


What is so scandalous is when we use the cash donations intended for the victims to buy foods, drinks and gifts for our own selves during the Christmas party; if we solicit money for the party at the expense of the victims.
The recent super typhoon happened a month before the world would celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes. It was a test of our character, values and spirit; of how strong and determined we are to withstand and recover from such horrific tragedy that almost wiped out parts of our islands from the face of earth, a nightmarish calamity that sent to tears different nationalities from all over the globe who saw the terror and shock on their TV sets and internet.
It should not reduce us to cultural pygmies daunted by trauma and hysteria. We should not deny ourselves the joy and happiness–and opportunity to savor and celebrate the true spirit of Christmas which happens only once a year.

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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


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