Back to The Shire, Back to the True Essence of Christmas

By Oliver Oliveros, Editor-In-Chief

I am convinced it was a wise decision for Warner Bros. Pictures and Oscar Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson to move the official release of the first installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Hobbit” film series, “An Unexpected Journey (2012),” from summer to Christmas, which the next two parts, “The Desolation of Smaug (2103)” and “The Battle of the Five Armies (2014),” followed suit.

The fantasy novel and the films' main protagonist, 50-year-old hobbit Bilbo Baggins, accompanied by Gandalf the Grey and a company of militant dwarves, has only one true wish throughout his long arduous journey across The Shire to Erebor: to return home among his equally home-loving family and friends in the Hobbiton village, which I believe shares the same essence of Christmas: to return home—physically or virtually—for the holidays, and welcome back home Christ whose birth as a man more than 2,000 years ago is why we celebrate Christmas after all.

Welcoming back home Christ should be no less than festive, introspective, too. That is why we take time to dress up our houses with at least a four-foot-tall Christmas tree, adorned with colorful, glittery ball ornaments and small flickering light bulbs, in the living room—to accentuate our jovial spirits. That is also why Filipinos around the world attend a nine-day Christmas novena, often called Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo—to renew our faith in the infant Jesus, given birth by a virgin in a humble manger, whose main source of light came from the divinely bright, beautiful Star of Bethlehem.

Back at home, I made sure my family has an image of the infant Jesus as the centerpiece of our Christmas holiday decorations. This year, my family has also placed a recycled parol, a representation of the Star of Bethlehem, made from used soft drink straws and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, on the main entrance door. Appropriately so because Christmas should be a reminder of Christ's utmost humility and not of the world's hedonism and extravagance.

On that note, please allow me to wish you a joyous, peaceful Christmas and a prosperous new year!

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