I was walking around the Marunouchi area when I saw this beautiful Christmas tree.
In a matter of days, the whole world shall be celebrating the holy day of Christmas. While the whole world prepares itself to commemorate a very special occasion, I am here in Tokyo, having no plans of celebrating the season or anything.
I am a Christian and I fully understand the reason why we all celebrate Christmas. It’s the time of the year when we all gather with the people we love and memorialize the day of the birth of the Messiah who saved mankind from all its sins. I am aware of this fact but then, it seems like my heart isn’t in the mood for some jubilation.
Maybe because of the fact that I’m not celebrating it with people who I used to spend it with. For the past two years, I’ve spent Christmas and New Year back in Manila. I would spend Christmas with my grandmother and aunts and the New Year, in my dad’s place in Tondo, the ghetto district of Manila. As I was growing up, I used to eat Christmas dinner with my grandma and my aunt, Jinky, while talking about anything. During the New Year, I would be partying with my relatives in my dad’s family and also our crazy neighborhood there.
But this year, since I won’t be going home for the holidays, I don’t feel Christmasy at all. I feel like everyone is celebrating and I would just be in front of my computer again, like any other ordinary day.
I know the Philippines is a very poor country and we usually didn’t have enough money to survive a day or two. But when it comes to the holidays, we would always find a way to feed our family’s mouths with good food. We would always find means to celebrate this divine occasion not only for ourselves but for our family. We, Filipinos, do really know what Christmas is all about. It’s commemorating the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. It’s celebrating it with the people who we really love. It’s the season of sharing, forgiveness, hope, and love. We, Filipinos, know why we celebrate Christmas and we celebrate it with our hearts.
But I’m here in Tokyo, a place who only celebrates Christmas as a global bandwagon. I am surrounded by people who don’t really realize how important this occasion is. I am in a place where the essence of Christmas is symbolized by the glittering lights and the overly beautiful decorations but not celebrating it with sharing, forgiveness, hope and love. It’s a place where Christmas is remembered as a winter wonderland occasion, a good reason to commercialize and to have a date- reasons which are all superficial and worldly.
I wish I can be back home, to the arms of the people I truly love. I wish to be with people who I used to eat Christmas dinner with. I wish that I could light firecrackers on the ground with the lunatics of our crazy neighborhood.
I wish I can go home. But I just can’t.