imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

IN MY EYES: Two Christmas miracles

It’s Christmas time again, fellas.

You can see the glitters in everyone’s yard, with all those artificially lined colors across, up and down the window sills, fences and trees. I see them as vanities, but what can we do? The world is full of vanities after all.

The grasses are filled with fogs, nurturing them for a time, perhaps a couple of months more before summer comes and then, they will eventually wither. And soon, the grounds dry up to display the 5-inch cracks in the fields as if an earthquake occurred.

The morning and evening winds are cold, one needs to don on a jacket to stay normally at 36 degrees. The radios, which echo those Christmas songs immortalized since the 60s and 70s, keep on repeating the phrase: “Merry Christmas!”

It’s also time for kids to start caroling out, fellas, which should be, for, after all, Christmas is for them. Evening giggles of children singing repeatedly over and over again those 60s and 70s songs are starting to “disturb” our evening meals, prompting a member to stand up from the dining table to toss a couple of coins to these evening revelers.

Ah, what a wonderful moment to reminisce our childhood, when we anticipate the coming of December so we could form a group, practice singing a Christmas song to the tune of a birthday song and then roam around the barangay to carol from house to house especially in the front door of the “richer” people would be generous enough to toss several coins to us. This would go on for several days until December 24 evening and on December 25, we would sit down like thieves dividing our loot!

Christmas, indeed is for children, fellas.

But few know that December 25 is not really the birth of Jesus Christ, as popularized by our culture.

Historians are unsure exactly when Christians first began celebrating the Nativity of Christ. However, most scholars believe that Christmas originated in the 4th century as a Christian substitute for pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. Before the introduction of Christmas, each year beginning on December 17, Romans honored Saturn, the ancient god of agriculture, in a festival called Saturnalia. This festival lasted for seven days and included the winter solstice, which usually occurred around December 25 on the ancient Julian calendar.

During Saturnalia the Romans feasted, postponed all business and warfare, exchanged gifts, and temporarily freed their slaves. Many Romans also celebrated the lengthening of daylight following the winter solstice by participating in rituals to glorify Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light.

Although the Gospels describe Jesus’ birth in detail, they never mention the date, so historians do not know on what date he was born. The Roman Catholic Church chose December 25 as the day for the Feast of the Nativity in order to give Christian meaning to existing pagan rituals. For example, the Church replaced festivities honoring the birth of Mithra, the god of light, with festivities to commemorate the birth of Jesus, whom the Bible calls the light of the world. The Catholic Church hoped to draw pagans into its religion by allowing them to continue their revelry while simultaneously honoring the birthday of Jesus.

But who cares.

People barely or do not remember Christmas’ history when December comes.

But I do remember two Christmas “miracles” that occurred on Christmas Day, fellas.

This is a pretty well-known Christmas miracle but definitely one worth repeating because it is proof that anything can happen at Christmas. In the middle of a bloody battle during WW I came a Christmas miracle.

On Christmas day that year, the soldiers fighting suddenly just stopped. Along the battlefields of France, soldiers put their weapons down. Most of the people fighting were young men who were serving their country but who hated killing others.

The British, French, and German troops didn’t just stop fighting; they befriended each other. A soccer match took place between the British and German troops. The soldiers exchanged food and cigarettes and marked the holiday by singing Christmas carols. Despite the fact that their countries were at war with each other, these men put the differences of their governments aside and celebrated Christmas.

The truce lasted beyond Christmas. After a holiday of peace and of knowing they would live to see the next day, some troops refused to start fighting again. They lived in peace with the enemy armies well into January. Eventually, the progression of the war forced them to take up arms again, but for a while, the spirit of Christmas lived on.

Then, one Christmas Eve, a couple named Ed and Julia were driving home when they got a flat tire. While Ed changed the tire, Julia walked around the desert in the surrounding area when she heard a shrill cry coming from across a distance. She flashed her cellphone’s flashlight and started to trek the dusty, sandy terrain slightly grown with thorny cactuses.

Eventually, her flashlight caught glimpse of a hatbox where the piercing cry came from and there, she saw a newborn baby girl abandoned by her heartless mother, perhaps to escape responsibility or whatever.

If Julia had not happened to come by that area, the baby girl probably would have died. The chances of someone discovering the baby in the middle of a desert-like, sandy place away from the main road during the holidays in a remote area are next to impossible. But God has a way to save the innocent and He made it happen by flatting the tire of the couple’s car. The flat tire ended up saving the abandoned baby’s life!

But Ed and Julia did not end up keeping the baby. They did bring her to the authorities who helped her find a good home. The incident attracted a lot of attention and 17couples applied to adopt the abandoned child.

The baby was adopted by a well-to-do family who named their Christmas miracle baby Shannon. Shannon went on to receive an excellent education, excelling in the sciences. She grew up with supportive adopted parents and later ended up working in the aerospace industry. She eventually made a name for herself in the industry and all throughout her life, she kept on preaching that miracles do happen.

This reminds me that everyday is Christmas, fellas.

Christmas is new life when you wake up strong and healthy, when you find yourself loving and being loved, when your table doesn’t lack food, when you toss a coin to a beggar begging for food or mercy and you find happiness in charity, when you share a portion of yourself to the poor and the needy and when you find time communing with God by doing good to your fellowmen.

We live only once and any good, therefore that we can do to our fellowmen let us do it now. Let us not defer or neglect it, for we shall not pass this way again.

Merry Christmas, everyone! #