Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

Christmas Lights and Enlightenment

Published at Business Mirror

Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan Business Management Dept. College of Business

December 8, 2010 Publication c/o MJ Mapoy Office of the Vice-Dean, Graduate School Final edition November 27, 2010

Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas.  The four weeks before Christmas are liturgically designed to make us yearn for the coming of Jesus.  A time to yearn for Someone who will fill us to the brim, make us understand what cannot be fully comprehended, and infuse the joy of experiencing what is new and refreshing.  That Someone is Jesus who, in catechetical hermeneutics, is ‘the fullness’ of our humanity.  Each advent candle reminds us to await the coming of a human model in the person of Jesus.

In anticipation of Christmas, festive lights along Ayala Avenue bring delight to the eyes and evoke in us a feeling of glee. Their sparkling and dripping movements simulate the stars and comets of a classic backdrop of the nativity of Jesus.  Thus, cities, towns, barangays, and homes have Christmas lights because it is a season to be jolly, a season of plenty, and a season to celebrate.  A sense of entitlement is in the air.  After all, if one underwent deprivation for eleven months, isn’t that person entitled to an experience of abundance at least once a year?  To dispel darkness and sadness, we must have Christmas lights and a feast of gastronomical delights.The Jews celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of lights in December.  Hanukkah may as well be a prelude to our celebration of Christmas. The celebration of Hanukkah includes the lighting of the Menorah (a candelabra with nine receptacles for oil) which, according to Webster, recalls “the story that a one-day supply of oil burned miraculously in the Temple for eight days”.   Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev [December 2, 2010] and during this time candles are lit and children play games and receive gifts.  The light has become a metaphor for facing life with joy, fun, and abundance with childlike abandon.

Last November 16th the Philippine government declared the celebration of Eid’l Adha as national holiday. Eid’l Adha honors Ibrahim who is father of not only of Muslim, but also of Jewish and Christian faith.  To some global and ecumenical advocates, the light which was revealed to Mohammed in Mecca, to Moses in Mt. Sinai, and to Jesus at the River Jordan came from Above. 

Thus, the significance of the Eid’l Adha is not only a national recognition of this Muslim feast but an initiative to bring unity, and hopefully peace, in a country that is majority Christian with minority Muslim.  When traced historically and theologically, unity of both sectors points towards harmony under one highest Being.  Marinoff, a socio-political writer, observes that there is an intimate parallelism between Muslim and Christian religion is found in the One God, One Prophet, and One Book formula. Muslims have Allah, Mohammed, the Koran; Christians have God, Jesus, and the Bible. Similarly, Muslims and Christians alike “bathe regularly in the light of truth.”

Does ‘bathing in the light of truth’ make us an enlightened body? Einstein may provide us an insight. The physical stimuli to our senses trigger in our brain messages that are relayed to our nerves that ultimately warm our hearts and enlighten our minds.  In Einstein’s equation, energy [our heart set on fire] is a function of mass [physical body] and light [non-physical or above the physical] present in us.  Similar concept is found at the prayer garden of Don Bosco Chapel in Makati where a devotee who lights a votive candle is reminded that “the little light” is the little light of one’s heart and of one’s self that brings about enlightenment.

But many of us this season are most likely focused on the physical aspect of energy and excitement through coveted gifts and Christmas glitters.  An accounting of the pesos spent on material [physical] goods would most likely outweigh what we spend for meta-physical [nonmaterial] activities. Easily, our Christmas bottom line would be more bodily weight with depleted bank account.

Come New Year, we do our balance sheet by making another accounting.  Indeed, we do spend a lot of energy to further develop our physical assets; I suggest we also take stock of our spiritual assets and liabilities.  It is at this level that we begin our journey into the light [delight?].  Enlightened by the year past, we will be ready and energized to move forward.  Einstein metaphysically assures us that our body [mass] generates power [energy] in proportion to our light.  Christmas light is not about external glitters and twinkles; it is about Jesus who is the Light of our micro and macro world.

In our enlightened state we may begin to see Jesus who came from above [heavenly, metaphysically, divinely] as model of our humanity.  Could it be that our being Christian is fulfilled in our being truly human?  Could it be that there is more fellowship [communion] on a Friday night at a bistro than on a Sunday morning in church?  Could it be that the Catholic seven sacraments, the Hindu seven chakras and the Jewish Kabbalah are all the same dimensions of God present in our humanity?  Christmas is a time to be enlightened that the Judeo, Christian and Muslim traditions came from one father named Abraham [Ibrahim].

Our journey to enlightenment, spurred by the birth of Jesus, beckons us to continue to explore the meaning of our humanity and the fullness of that humanity to truly experience global and universal brotherhood [personhood] under One Father.

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