Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

It has been instilled into us the nature of giving. With our Pinoy characteristic of being thoughtful, we take the chance of

The promotion of joy in materialism has left our culture marred with greed...but should we dwell in the false joy it brings?

The promotion of joy in materialism has left our culture marred with greed…but should we dwell in the false joy it brings?

showing our appreciation and love to friends on Christmas. However, the adverse effect of the commerciality of the season caused us to expect…and want even more.

One tradition that has been going on in years is what we call “pamamasko“. Kids would come and visit their ninongs and ninangs (godfathers and godmothers), expecting that they would be given an aguinaldo (gift). So comes the saying, “Christmas is for kids”, as they get most of the treats of the season.

Every 25th of December, you can see families going around visiting houses, not only of their ninongs and ninangs but also of other relatives and friends. It’s a good bonding moment for the parents and their kids, and instills a good memory from a visited godparent or relatives. I remember my niece collecting quite a huge amount of money in a day of her pamamasko when she was about three or four years old. But through the long run, one adverse effect of this tradition is the loss of thoughtfulness for one another.

Children are taught to expect instead of giving to their elderly. Actually, some of their parents complain when they don’t

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

find the gifts given to their kids appealing. It’s not only once that I hear such a case whenever I take a public ride in this holiday season, which I believe teaches kids not to be grateful at all.

In turn, their ninongs and ninangs, as well as the other relatives and so-called relatives think of these visiting families as money-grabers. Thus, they lie by laying quiet in the house, pretending no one was there.

It actually causes stress to the one being visited. My mother, though a very generous person, always felt anxious when there’s this usual person who kept on asking if she can come on Christmas Day especially when she needs something. Now, in the Filipino tradition, even if you got nothing to offer, you cannot tell a visitor, “Go back, I have nothing to give you.” But sadly, some people have the tendency to abuse one’s kindness.

The funny thing is that some families not only bring along their kids but also their nieces, nephews, very young siblings, a friend and his kid. Now, most of the mentioned “extra kids” are unfamiliar to the godparents of the kids. It’s very embarassing for a Filipino when these other kids are not given gifts, for some of them had readied gifts only for their godchildren. So, the godparent had to shovel from his savings just to give these other kids an aguinaldo. This happened to me and my mom when one of her inaanak brought a bunch of kids surprisingly at home, and she had to borrow some money from me just to give those who she did not know at all.

When I was younger, my mother taught me when I visit  my ninongs and ninangs, I have to give them something. Usually, I’d bring with us a tray of cream mango cake (made by myself) for each godparent. She taught me never to expect from them, as I should be the one to make them happy by giving back to them. Indeed, there is more joy in giving than receiving. But because my godparents were so fond of me, they can’t help but give me gifts when I visit them (which I would sheepishly accept).

It’s a joy to receive gifts but it’s a bigger joy to give. Usually, there’s a deeper sense of fulfillment when the one you give is grateful for what you have given, no matter how small or affordable it has been. When one says, “It’s the thought that counts”, it’s not only the gift that matters but how the giver remembers you. I hope we change the expectancy of pamamasko into a tradition of giving. I hope we can visit our godparents, relative, and so-called relatives on Christmas Day to give — for this is a good way to remember and honor them. When we do, we are blessed back. The joy and gratefulness we receive back would surely be more fulfilling than the money or toys we get. Besides, you would get out of the notoriety list: from money-grabber, you will be well-remembered as a thoughtful giver. 🙂

And before the day ends, let us remember that we can never take and take as long as we want. The greedy who took more than a day’s supply of the manna given to Moses’ camp were disappointed it got wasted after 24 hours. We are blessed to give away for many other need more than we do.

Merry Christmas everyone! May heaven’s gate be opened over you! 😀

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