Crimson Christmas

By: Jason A. Baguia December 23,2016 - 10:05 PM

Christ’s birthday comes, bloodshed in your houses and streets notwithstanding. Do not be surprised. You saw Catherine Hardwicke’s “The Nativity Story” 10 years ago and found yourself educated by this scene. About three months before her baby is due, the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary rides a donkey on her way to Saints Elizabeth and Zechariah’s dwelling. She passes a copse of trees on which the Roman empire nailed many men.

All these years, you have read the texts of popes’ Christmas benedictions to the city and to the world. From the loggia of the Basilica di San Pietro, they did not always preach holiday cheer. Often they used the occasion to shine the Virgin’s newborn’s blessed light onto the war zones of the world in hopes of peace.

Christmas is crimson. Learn this anew in these last days of December, when more than six thousand of your compatriots (and counting) cut down by drug war bullets have left (and are leaving) thousands more orphaned, widowed, childless, without wife, without lover, without brother or sister, without friend.

Christmas is crimson. Not because of your queso de bola’s glossy crust, your Santa Claus doll’s velvet bishop’s robe, your potted poinsettia’s fragile leaves. All this red stands for first blood, which flowed in the veins of Mary’s little prince, which an insecure monarch called Herod lusted so bad to spill. The blood would flow and become the ocean of mercy beginning on Christ’s thirty-third year.

Christmas is crimson. Remember this tonight, Christmas Eve, as you raise a toast and take a sip of wine, as you take a piece of puto cheese and dip it in porcine dugo-dugo. These sweet hours come to you at the cost of the blood of the carpenter through whom all things were made, and sweet hours like these have been stolen from suspects, for whom you would have pleaded for a chance at acquittal had any of them been you.

Christmas is crimson. Tonight, you can sit at table because you are not the six-year-old boy snuffed out by a bullet that was meant for his father, not the grade 10 gentleman mistaken for someone else and shot dead in the depth of his slumber, not the 12-year-old girl on her way to Mass who caught a bullet aimed at an ex-addict watchman who to the authorities had once surrendered. Sit, eat, drink and be merry, and remember that the murdered could have been you.

Christmas is crimson. You take the collateral damage position, that in the drug war even the innocent must die so that others may live, or the avenger’s position, that all those who were killed deserved their deaths.

Think again on the second day of Christmas, the twenty-sixth of December when we commemorate the martyrdom of Saint Stephen, stoned to death upon the instigation of a council who refused to listen to the truth at a sham trial.

(Saint Stephen, first martyr, soften the hearts of those who have appointed themselves instant judges and executioners. Console those who mourn so that they may pray with you that God may forgive murderers who know not what they do).

Think again on the fourth day of Christmas, Childermas, the twenty-eighth of December when we remember the holy innocents sacrificed in King Herod’s failed operation to seek and destroy the newborn king.

(Holy Innocents, escort the souls of the children we have failed to protect into that kingdom where the pure of heart enjoy the fulfillment of Christ’s promise that they will see God. May the new Holy Innocents pray for our enlightenment rather than call for heaven’s wrath on our people.)

Think again on the fifth day of Christmas, the twenty-ninth of December when hundreds of years ago soldiers of England’s king slew in the sanctuary of the cathedral Saint Thomas Beckett who resisted the bully state.

(Saint Thomas, enlighten our leaders. May they remember that the world is saved by the One who is crucified, not the ones who perpetrate crucifixion).

Think again.

The blood of those you find guilty (though you are no judge), the blood of those you deem dispensable (though no one is a commodity) could very well be blood mingled with that of the only One who will expunge your name from the Book of Life, all because you wanted a Christmas, a life freed from those you label the weeds of society rather than a Christmas, a life of works of love and mercy in which you are the one who bleeds.

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TAGS: blood, Christ, Christmas, Jesus Christ, love, lover, Mary, Mother Mary, Virgin Mary

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