CHRISTMAS commemorates the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It commemorates His presence with us. Christmas comes from “Christ” and “mass.” Every December 25 of the year, we hold masses commemorating the birth of Christ. During Christmas, some of our schools, churches and homes set up a Crib. This activity is being missed today by many of us in this year of celebration when very few of the schools and homes in the city set up a Crib or any Christmas décor.
This setting up of the Crib was popularized by St. Francis of Assisi in the year 1223 when on Christmas Eve, in church at Greccio, he constructed a crib, grouping around it images of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, of the shepherds, the ox, and the ass. At midnight mass, St. Francis acted as assistant to the priest. After singing the words of the Gospel, “And they laid Him in a Manger,” he knelt down to meditate on the great gift of the Incarnation. And people around saw in his arms a Child, surrounded by a most brilliant light! Since then the devotion to the crib has spread far and wide. The crib remains in church until the day of the Epiphany (Three Kings). Christmas celebration is not complete without a Crib. Christmas gifts remind us of the great Gift that God sent us, the Child in the Crib, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In schools, Christmas is a time for sharing, singing, decorating, and enjoying the season. Christmas is always celebrated in schools days before the Christmas break. Teachers experience joy with their students, using Christmas lesson plans, activities, and skill builders. They also enjoy Christmas games that will find educational as well. There is so much for them to enjoy with their students while celebrating Christmas.
Christmas party is prevalent in some schools, in private institutions and in some government agencies. Some schools held it at the hotel or in a beach resort at the expense of the students. Some held it inside their school campuses. Other schools did it differently. Instead of holding Christmas Party in school or hotel, they used to visit the remote areas in the provinces and give gifts to the children of the poor or to the orphans. Some schools and government agencies made it in another way to give meaning of Christmas. Instead of exchanging gifts during Christmas Party, they collected their gifts and cash together with the voluntary donations and sent it to the victims of natural calamities such as typhoons and floods.
On the other hand, as reported in the past Christmas celebrations, some schoolteachers or college faculty members were making personal profit from Christmas celebrations by overcharging their pupils or students in the contributions and by making their attendance to the Christmas Party compulsory. I hope this is not happening now. This is not the way to celebrate Christmas. Thus, we are making students and parents loaded with financial problems instead of enjoying this Christmas Season. This developed among our parents a negative impression about Christmas. The Education Act of 1982 or Batas Pambansa 232, on Students’ Rights, does not allow this.
Students have the right to be free from involuntary contributions, except those approved by their own organizations or societies. Students and parents should be aware of this right.
Schools should be the venues in preserving the traditional and meaningful way of celebrating Christmas.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!