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When is Christmas now?

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Do or dare? Remember that challenge in your childhood days when you had to prove yourself before your contemporaries? That is the challenge now being faced by our Health officials who have finally managed to secure the stock of vaccines against the coronavirus, alias COVID 19. I haven’t yet read or heard any report confirming that they will accede, but, I’m afraid that if they back out, that will be the end of our vaccination plans or hopes. Will Health Secretary Francisco Duque accept the challenge?

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Well, as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so who will taste this particular pudding first? But if it has worked in other countries, why should they be afraid? Don’t  they want to be martyrs? But we can’t blame them, these guys have families, too, who may balk at the idea of making their loved ones and breadwinners guinea pigs. So we have to wait a while before any vaccination program is adopted, that is, if we can procure the P73 million – or was it billion – we would have to dish out for it!

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However, we also have to think twice about rejecting the idea of vaccination. News the other day said the World Health Organization is  expecting, I mean, warning of another wave of the disease. The reports also warned against a new wave to hit Hongkong, and that is much too near us, with many people from there coming to our country, and vice versa. But if you still have doubts about vaccination, I also heard that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom were supposed to undergo it yesterday, and let us see what this morning’s news will tell us.

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While people from our city and province are worrying about how they can observe the traditions of Christmas and the New Year, that is also a holy day, being the Feast of the Circumcision, a priest in Basco, Bataan, has not been waiting for his parishioners to come to his church, he has been going around himself, hearing confessions and performing other religious rites for his church members. I find that very admirable, for wasn’t that the injunction to the apostles, to go forth and baptize people?

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The enterprising “Padre” was identified as Fr. ZankiManabat, and he was seen on TV riding a tricycle to carry his mission. Sometimes, it was reported, he had to borrow a truck where people from his parish went to confession. I am sure he will get extra points for his ingenuity in pursuing his mission when he gets to the Heavenly Gates. But maybe, Basco is not so badly hit by the COVID? He is just an example of the saying “If there’s a will, there’s a way”.

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Speaking of wills and ways, another example could be Sarangani where there has been no electricity all this time, and what did they do? The “hero” of the piece  was not named, but someone, or some agency was able to introduce the use of solar power, and now their schools enjoy the benefits of electricity. It is hard to believe that in this day and age, there are still areas that do not have electricity, but the case of Sarangani should be a model for others.

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I heard that the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines, are suggesting that night masses during the Christmas season be held outdoors. But what if it rains, as it seems to do almost everyday lately? Those who stick it out and get wet could catch cold, or  be vulnerable to COVID infection!  Maybe we should all start praying for good weather during this most blessed of holy days. I may have forgotten, but I don’t think I can recall a Christmas celebration that was rainy, or even stormy. Or perhaps I have just forgotten.

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Anyway, let us all brace ourselves for a rather different manner of celebrating Christmas. I hear that, instead of the midnight mass, this Christmas it will not be celebrated at midnight but at 7:30 p.m. Will that mean that this Christmas will be marked on December 24, instead of at the midnight that moves to the 25th? Anyway, it is the birthday of Jesus Christ that we are celebrating, and surely He will welcome us – as He did the shepherds, as well as the Three Kings!*

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