a little self-denial (& perspective) is (also) good for the Christmas soul


If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, YOU ARE RICHER THAN 75% OF THE WORLD.  If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change, YOU ARE AMONG THE TOP 8% OF THE WORLD’S WEALTHY.  If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, YOU ARE MORE BLESSED THAN THE MILLION PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT SURVIVE THIS WEEK.  If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or the horrible pangs of starvation, YOU ARE LUCKIER THAN 500 MILLION PEOPLE ALIVE AND SUFFERING.  If you can read this message, YOU ARE MORE FORTUNATE THAN 3 BILLION PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO CANNOT READ IT AT ALL.  – posters-for-good.tumblr.com

I should be one to talk.  I’m a world-class whiner, complainer, cringe at the slightest sign of bad weather, and scream at the minutest twinge of pain.  As well, I have the least right to preach, pontificate or presume to possess the smallest gem of worldly (or unworldly) wisdom for you Precious Reader.  I just spill my guts to you everytime I post on my humble blog hoping someone like me, trudging through life and trying to survive, is feeling the same way and doing the same things I’m doing, and therefore able to relate to little old me.

Saying as much, I’m sure you will agree that this is the one of only two occasions of the year (the other being New Year’s Eve) where it’s socially acceptable and perfectly alright to be engorged and inebriated (that’s bloated and drunk in everyday lingo) before the end of the day, where everyone eats until you’re queasy and clammy, and where drinking makes us do things we regret later.  But in the end, it’s Christmas!  And so it’s alright.

But for every munch and crunch of that lechon de leche or Swiss ham, recall the cigaret vendors whose altanghap of pandesal and instant noodles will have to carry them through the day.  For every swig of San Mig Light or Pale Pilsen, there will have countless multitudes who will be happy to have a bottle of Pepsi or Coke instead of the usual MWSS juice for a change.  For every Davidoff Cool Water, D&G or Bulgari fragrance you covet and acquire, there are probably a hundred barangays in Mindanao who won’t even have potable water to drink, much less water to take showers with.  For every thousand pesos of bonus money you say you deserved but didn’t get, there are a dozen families who won’t even have a picture of a noche buena to admire, much less to taste.

It’s alright to enjoy ourselves during the festive season, but it’s hard to be extravagantly happy when you know there are people just as deserving as you and me who simply don’t have the means or chance to celebrate.

***           ***           ***

Then let’s not forget the people who, because of their vocation and profession, have to deny themselves the pleasure of the holidays and instead do their best to keep our Christmases safe and happy.

Policemen and security people, retailers and salespersons, and everyone else who needs to work the holiday shift.  We know and they know they can’t celebrate their Christmas the traditional time, so we can only do the next best thing, and give them their due and recognition.  And also by giving them the easiest time possible.

Enough of this.  Please give my best to the rest of your family this Christmas.  And thanks for reading!

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