XMas

Nonfiction by | December 21, 2008

When I was younger, met the -ber months with anticipation. I knew then that gifts, parties, and family reunions were not far off. Chill wind, Christmas carols, and dazzling lights: there was magic in the air. But above all, what I looked forward to in Christmas was the gift from Santa Claus.

My parents taught me to believe in Santa Claus. I did, hook, line and sinker. Who wouldn’t, with everyone at home in cahoots? My brothers would say that they saw huge foot prints in the garden. Our maid would say that she swept up stardust. I believed it all until I was in sixth grade.

Then in a moment of spite, my Kuya Aldrin broke the illusion. I cried when I learned the truth. Still, the next Christmas I pretended I didn’t know, but it was never the same and I realized I was only fooling myself. So I stopped.

Now that I’m older, Christmas is still something I look forward to. But now it comes and goes like a blur. I so look forward to it and then look up one day to realize that it has gone by. All lost in a flurry: of last-minute Christmas shopping, of parties, of planning how to spend the bonus.

Still Christmas shines through, even though it comes in disguise. You feel it from the glow of special moments. For me, the moments are these: when I wake up early for the Simbang Gabi; when I help my nephew wrap his present for their party; when my kuya and I raid our kitchen for pulutan; when I help my mother in her cooking.

Family. Love. Faith. Hope. A hope for something wonderful, a tiny star twinkling amidst the inky black sky. Waiting. Anticipating. Even if what comes is not what I think it would be. And even if what comes is commonplace, but is noticed only now because it’s Christmas. Then it makes Christmas worthwhile.

We look for meaning in the grandiose but the magic comes from the unexpectedly plain.

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Floraine is an industrial engineer, MBA student and aspiring entrepreneur.