REFLECTIONS : THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS AUTHOR Teresita Bacani-Oropilla , MD
Lately , the beautiful colors of autumn have been blown away and there is a chill in the air . Nevertheless , green fir tree stands are making a comeback as if to fill the void . Multicolored lights begin to twinkle on windows and lawns , and music is in style .
Among the visitors that came to cheer up the “ old folks ” in an assisted living facility was a five-piece brass band . Dressed in festive red hats , one would presume these young musicians would play loud , rowdy music .
Surprise ! Their repertoire included the softly muted Silent Night ’ s “ All is calm , all is bright ,” which started some humming . Even the rendering of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer did not jar one ’ s hearing aids but instead created some clapping of osteoarthritic hands and some audible toe tapping from those seated in their wheelchairs ! Time flew swiftly by .
What the music actually aroused were memories of family get togethers , a review of hand me down recipes , and tales of the antics of beloved characters , both living and dead . Stories of children delightfully opening gifts of their vintage - Shirley Temples , G . I . Joes , comic characters , spacemen and women who fought evil , princesses and Barbies , Legos , and firetrucks with ladders . They remembered that clothes , especially shorts and socks , were not favorites .
Finally , we old fogeys talked about our present grandchildren ’ s favorite new toys , electronic devices that took the child ’ s personal attention to his / her desired preference to the point they became oblivious of those around them .
The celebration of Christmas , once a religious observance of the birth of Christ , Prince of Peace , has metamorphosed into a universal celebration of hope and happiness through the practice of charity to others . It can be a card to tell someone you care , a sandwich to a homeless beggar , a regular free meal helper in a homeless shelter . Others bring used clothes or new diapers to those that need them , toys to those that never had one to hug . We can donate toward the cost of shipments of food to the hungry . Great or small , it centers on giving to others .
Christmas can be an occasion for social gatherings and competitive displays of self and power . Whatever one ’ s motive , it is a reminder that humans cannot be completely isolated one from the other ; that spiritual , emotional , and even physical survive and contentment relies not only on oneself , but on those around us .
Can we then , in our own ways , like the little brass band , spawn good feelings and memories for our neighbors and ourselves ?
And - act on them ? Can we ?
Dr . Bacani-Oropilla is a retired pediatrician and child psychiatrist .
JANUARY 2022 17