A Solemn Holiday

“It’s too quiet, “ said his nephew. “Why is everything silent? It’s Christmas!”

Indeed. A few more hours and it would be Christmas, and yet as he looked at his watch, he felt no urge to jump up and down in anticipation like he did when he was little. It was almost too funny, how things ended up the way they were right now. It was to be the most festive day of the year, and yet he just sat there silently, as if he was just watching the passage of time.

Unfortunately, there was nothing funny in how things came to be. Like a bad aftertaste, it was a feeling he couldn’t ignore completely. However, he was already past the point of heightened emotion. Now, it would seem that he had reached a steady standpoint; as if he was now a lighthouse in a solitary island, unmoved amidst the turbulent seas. While the rest of the world swirled around him, he stands in silent observation.

It wasn’t that he hadn’t remembered the occasion. After all, it wasn’t easy to forget. The last few days was like a blur of red and green, with the occasional glitter of multi-colored lights, wrapped around Christmas trees of different shades and sizes. With all the trinkets and ornaments that littered the sidewalks, it was as if the whole month was a celebration of gifts. And not that gifts weren’t cool, but he just felt overwhelmed that almost everyone around him put so much heart into what they wanted to receive this Christmas.

“Uncle, would you like to play that X-Men™ game,?” asked his nephew. They had just finished watching a movie about the Incredible Hulk™ battling it out with Wolverine™.

“Oh, okay” Rising from the sofa, he went over to the computer and opened up the arcade game that they used to play some five years ago.

“Oh, I remember that one!”
“I think I remember this stage”
“Hey I remember those Lizard Men!”

He just sat there and listened while his nephew’s eyes beamed with recognition at every sentinel that they battled. This had been one of their favorite games, together with “that one game where the zombies eat your neighbors po“, as his nephew would describe it.

“1, 2, 3.. SUPER!”
“Hahaha, all right we defeated him!”

It has been five years, and yet he was amazed at how much of the gameplay his nephew could remember. And just like that, he realized that this, this was what the season was about. It was not so much the gifts, but the impenetrable bonds that have been formed over these long years. The value of money differs over time, but the value of friendship, of family, is something that never wavers. It only grows stronger with each year. And just how the game that they we’re playing flashed a disclaimer saying “NOTE. THE GAME IS NOT OVER YET” even though the ending credits were already rolling, then this too, is not the end of the journey. Defeat.. death.. they serve as a transition to a whole new journey. And on this most holy of nights, it would be wrong of him to lose sight of what was truly important. There was but one reason why he still celebrated Christmas, and he would never let that reason get lost in the shadows.

Happy Birthday, Jesus.
A silent wish sails the seven seas
The winds of change whisper in the trees
And the walls of doubt crumble tossed and torn
This comes to pass when a child is born

-Jose Mari Chan, When a Child is Born

-Ed. E.


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