The essence of Christmas
In the runup to the date laureate, shops and malls in Metro Manila and other highly urbanized areas compete with each other on extremely impressive displays of available gifts and other presents to mark the momentous event. For the well-heeled, the song “Joy to the World” breathes a consequential meaning, with sumptuous meals in posh restaurants, overnight stays in star hotels, or perhaps a quick refreshing vacation off the city jungle. Those in the lower rungs are at peace with spending the hours with family members, animated by exchanges of anecdotes from the expanding clan that has different generations and persuasions, including calling and discipline. Opening gifts under blinking Christmas trees at the receiving rooms shortly after Midnight Mass on the 24th, a liturgical tradition in the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, and the Lutheran Churches, or before the midnight repast has become ineradicable in the culture of predominantly Christian Philippines, which received the Cross in the 16th century.