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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, January 3, 2020
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

The real gift-giving day

Ninfa Leonardia

A very Happy New Year to everyone, especially to our readers and friends! I wonder how they felt about the coming of 2020 – did they have a lifting of the heart to think we are starting a year that has a rounded off number? I guess I am really an optimist, but I feel that this will be a prosperous and blessed year for our country. That is what I always pray for as the year comes to a close, and I hope it is everyone’s wish as well!

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Meanwhile, does anybody having a guilty conscience for not having remembered to give some relatives and friends gifts or even greeting cards during the holidays? You can salve your conscience by remembering that the actual day for gift-giving should not really be Christmas Day. Remember? The practice of giving gifts to the Christ Child was initiated by the Three Kings, or the Magi, and it was not on December 25 that they delivered their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but on January 6, now commemorated by the Church as Epiphany Day.

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So, if tradition would be honored, it is until January 6 that you can make up for your lapses in gift-giving. Of course they need not be as precious as the original gifts from Magi, after they all they were kings! Remember that even they were late in getting to where the Babe in the Manger lay, because they had to make a detour after meeting Herod along the way, who asked them to inform him when they have found out where the Baby Jesus was born, so he could also go and worship Him.

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But the Magi were astute enough to know that Herod had another evil motive, so they took another way, which was why the evil Herod did not succeed in his plans. Meanwhile, what this is really intended to remind us is that, the gift-giving period has not ended yet, so if your Ninong or Ninang has not delivered yet, you still have a chance until January 6! Because that was the date when it all started.

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Who does not wish for a happy new year? Certainly, everyone does. But there are some killjoys who would rather see people sigh in dismay, like the oil companies, who chose the early days of 2020 to announce that they are hiking prices once again! Couldn’t they have waited a few more days into the new year and let us enjoy them for a while? So let’s be ready to grin and bear it within the next few days of this spanking new year.

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If you, too, have expressed surprise over the fact that our Christmas and New Year’s days this year were rather wet, we were not the only ones experiencing changes. While we had Typhoon Ursula, with her rain and floods causing havoc, other countries also experienced changes. In Russia, people were very surprised because for the first time since they could recall, there was no snowfall during the Christmas season. So, like us, they could only sing and dream of a white Christmas.

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For the first time, too, we – my folks and I – did not end the old year and start the new one at home. We trooped to the Bacolod City Government Center to join the countdown and watch the fireworks that drew thousands of people, most of whom, I was told, had been staying on the grounds the whole night. It was like one big picnic, with some spreading mats on the grass for their media noche. Some even brought tables, with tablecloths and utensils, pa! But it was delightful to see, like one big party for everybody.

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It was also fun to listen to the countdown with the crowd in chorus. As for me, it was the very first time I marked the coming of a new year outside my home. I did it on purpose because of some painful memories about loved ones no longer around to mark it with, and their memories still so fresh. But still, it was a time to give thanks for the gift of having more of them to celebrate and look forward to a happy and blessed New Year again!*

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