A grateful nation can never go wrong in much the same way that a grateful heart will always do what is right and fair.

But even as we celebrate this year’s Day of Thanksgiving—even as we reel away from this national trauma we call economic meltdown that seems to have no end in sight—we have a reason to sit back and think through what has happened to the communities of immigrants in this land, communities that are known for their diversity and difference and yet always on the lookout for what makes them in common.

The Day of Thanksgiving is rooted in the acknowledgement that there is something or someone that knows well than what we know.

The Day of Thanksgiving implicates as well the immigrant history of this country that at times, after the immigrants have settled down and stopped moving, have come to look at the other immigrants from a different lens.

No, this country, on the Day of Thanksgiving and beyond it, must take stock of its investment in movement—in migration—as this is what its energy for growth, creativity, ingenuity, community, and vision comes from.

Without this broader perspective, we lapse into forgetting and this whole idea about sacrifice and honor, as is the case of the sacrifice and honor of the veterans who had to fight a war in our name in order for us to have peace, will become hollow and shallow, empty and meaningless.

One lesson we need to underscore on the Day of Thanksgiving is to keep on with the spirit to insist what needs to be remembered.

Another lesson is to resist the idea that remembrance is a perfunctory act of recalling the past as if this past is a relic of what goodness the past had.

No, we cannot.

History must remain our guide in mapping the future for us all; the future that is well rooted in the past-as-present and in the present-as-future.

We fail to see the continuum of time, we fail to see how necessary is our role to guarantee that someone will remember, someone will make it sure that we all become “a member again” of this vibrant, dynamic, socially responsible community of immigrants.



What it means has been lost along the way.

The distractions are all over the place, the message has been distorted, and the messenger has been reduced to a God-of-last-resort.

When everything else fails, we come to the God-with-us, the Immanuel.

When the world crumbles down on us, we remember that we have forgotten: that there is the Creator from whom all goodness comes.

We live in a world mishmashed by the unnecessary, clouded by the accidents we do not need in order to put some substance to what makes sense because it matters most.

All over the place are the seductions of the temporary, the everyday.

All over the place are the enchantments of those that will come to pass and we forget, effectively.

In some sense, the recipient of the message is on the loose, unable to rein in himself, reining in what needs to be reined in but unsuccessfully at most.

The phantom that is the world—looming large and welcoming—is too huge to be dismissed, its offer of the deal too tempting to simply turn our back to.

Such is our lives these days.

The tentativeness is permanent, the permanence so tentative.

Not a whit do we care about the essentials without reducing our actions to essentialism.

Or even to a soap opera of the meaningless kind, produced by pop culture mindlessly, reinforced by commerce and profit and greed intentionally.

In all these, we have lost the meaning of Christmas.

In all these, Christmas has lost its sense to us.

We are here to fulfill a ritual, a ceremony of forgetting even as we troop to the vendo machines giving out all the gifts that we buy to substitute the loving that we cannot give.

We can call this the human condition, the current human condition, with all its flimsiness, its artifice, and its lack of substance.

We need to take stock of what we have got, like learning again the lessons on how to make our world more human and humane, more caring, more competent in dealing with the widespread apathy that has afflicted us.

The human condition is this: indifferent to the sufferings of the world, indifferent to the situations of others that have been reduced to wretchedness, indifferent to the impossibility of announcing what can be redeemed, indifferent to what can make us remember so that once again we can become more human, we can become more humane, we can become again the image of the created being that can rightly sport the qualification “God-with-us.”

We have forgotten this “us,” this us that is “God-with-us.”

A redeemer has been given unto us, and that redeemer is placed somewhere, like a reserved tire, like a spare part of the mechanical life that we have learned to lead and live.

The God-with-us is not needed, let that stay in the nook, in that dark corner somewhere.

The God-with-us is needed now, make the call.

It is that: transactional, business-like, negotiable, instrumental.

It is in this light that we reiterate that Christmas is not a passing season.

That Christmas is not an invention of human history.

That Christmas is not a product of human imagination with all the ugly connotations of that imagination.

Christmas is what it is: a commitment to the human community.

It is a commitment to the redemption of all peoples.

FAO/Dec 2010/Editorial


"Bettors use dreams, prayers to hit lotto jackpot of P535M,"
Inquirer, November 19, 2010

Padalisannak, apo, iti grasia,
itedmo kadi iti panunot a di agtalna.
Ta adu ta adu ti rigat ti agsagsabaga
nga iti pagtayaan iti lotto makipilpila.