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Strange, stranger

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Jullie Y. Daza

Jullie Y. Daza

By Jullie Y. Daza

 

Some people you know do not believe in Christmas either because it’s not what their religion teaches or it’s something about their character and life circumstances. If they don’t know what they’re missing, they don’t need to be reminded, like there’s no need to remind nonsmokers to avoid second-hand smoke.

Once upon a time there lived a man who didn’t care about Christmas because it was only a myth that certain merchants and professional beggars took advantage of to make a fast buck. As his friends never tired of teasing him, “You don’t believe in Christmas but you accept Christmas gifts. You just don’t give Christmas gifts.”

A few weeks ago, a wealthy man and occasional philanthropist found to his dismay that his driver-caregiver had run away with his bag containing cash and personal items (keys, cards, hand sanitizer). In cold cash, P1.3 million gone with the wind, blown away by the cold winds of the season. He reported the theft to the police.

Knowing how long it usually takes for the long arm of the law to catch the bad guys, the businessman was not about to sit idly by, waiting for results. He printed a stack of calling cards – they look like greeting cards – each carrying the headline WANTED in red ink, the promise of a reward, and his phone numbers. When he handed me one of those cards, I had almost wished him Merry Christmas, restrained only by a second look at the picture on the card showing the face of a stranger, the face of the thief, gloriously smiling as if he’d just won a prize.

Strange things happen during the season of love and sharing (yes, sharing, with its range of meanings) – beware of strangers, be very wary of persons close by. Another businessman “was carnapped by my driver, he disappeared with the car, never came back.” Before long, the culprit was found, dead. Police said death was due to an overdose, the car was found but its owner won’t be keeping it.

Last Sunday the third candle of Advent was lit to proclaim the coming of joy, “Gaudate,” rejoice! We recall with tenderness the many who’ve passed on to that place of bliss this December and in Christmases past. The jolly Fr. Nick Cruz, SJ, 88, who taught film at Ateneo de Manila for many years until two Sundays ago, will be missed by his students, the Jesuit community, and peers in MTRCB and MMFF.

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