The changing face of Christmas
The age of instant information has changed tremendously the face of Christmas. We can now communicate with our loved ones from one end of the globe to the other in a matter of minutes or seconds.
We can send our Christmas greetings and wishes to hundreds of friends in the silence and coldness of our rooms. We can make people smile, touch their hearts, and lift their spirits through words of wisdom in an instant, and free of charge.
Science and technology has made our life easier, faster, and more efficient. It has multiplied our options in choosing the best gifts we can give to our loved ones.
It has given us possibilities to expand our generosity by donating part of our material treasures through established and reliable agencies, both private and government, that are caring for the well-being of the least, last, and lost in society.
Alongside the many blessings of this century, we cannot forget the threats present in the progress it brings. For one, the easy and instant gratification of human needs provided by technology often creates a consumeristic lifestyle.
For that matter, Christmas becomes a whole business of producing "would be gifts" that are not really necessary for human consumption, and are often unhealthy and destructive to our already polluted world.
And in the name of gift giving and sharing, we become victims of an economic system that makes Christmas an opportunity to gain more profit, rather than, humanize our world.
Today's gifts often contribute to building walls rather than bridges among and between family members.
Our tables, which used to be centers of family communion, turn into an aggregate of family members who are busy multiplying contacts through their mobile phones and other gadgets.
We have forgotten the original reason why we have invented these gadgets.
The real story of Christmas reminds us that science and technology is for human development. Jesus Christ, the human face of God's mercy and compassion has demonstrated to us the value of simplicity and humility necessary to restore innocence to our complicated and sophisticated humanity.
Jesus' humility (the God who took human flesh) is the antidote for man's greed for power, while at the same time elevating human dignity to his divine calling. Christ's simplicity is the solution to man's desire for material possessions resulting in poverty among millions and the degradation of mother earth.
The Word made Flesh (Jesus Christ) did not only proclaim the nobility of human nature, it also assumed the divine calling of all of creation. This human and divine truth has its historical beginning in the humble and simple event called the Christmas Story.
Bonifacio Tago Jr. is vice president for academic programs and professor of philosophy at Good Samaritan Colleges in Cabanatuan City, Philippines. He is currently taking up a doctorate degree in Theology in Consecrated Life at the Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia.