Celebrating Christmas in the midst of calamities
While people in other areas in the country greeted this year’s Christmas evening with great joy, many greeted it with great sorrow as typhoon Ursula devastated lives, houses and other properties.
Ursula left Eastern, Central, Western Visayas and some parts of Luzon with great damage.
My heart also goes out to our fellow Cebuanos in the northern parts of Cebu who were hit by the typhoon. Many of them have not even totally recovered yet from the devastation of the typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
In Metro Cebu, there were also two conflagrations that hit in Mandaue City and Mambaling, Cebu City in a supposedly joyful day. People in those areas were already set to welcome Christmas, but their excitement was stopped by the fire incidents.
Victims of calamities on a very day that we are supposed to be happy cannot be blamed if they could ask questions relative to their faith, to wit: Why have we suffered too much? Why did God allow these calamities to happen on his birthday? Why did he not help us when he is powerful?
Why did he not stop the storm like what he did when the apostles encountered strong winds while they were on a boat in the sea of Gallilee? Worst question are: Does God really exist? If yes, why did he abandon us?
Of course science can provide scientific explanations on typhoons. On the aspect of Theology, theologians have pro-forma answers to the foregoing questions. Such answers can be easily discussed for academic purposes in the four corners of the classroom. But for some calamity victims, these answers are not always easy to discern.
As per CDN Digital report on typhoon Ursula, there was one victim who said that it seemed like they were not celebrating Christmas on the very evening that Ursula attacked their place, causing damage to his house. One victim, however, said, “It is God’s will and we just have to accept it.” What a touching statement!
Those victims whose faith is unaffected despite the trials they suffered, their faith is worth meditating. Those who did not suffer the calamities may also pause for a while and evaluate the maturity of their faith.
The story of Job in the Bible is also worth remembering. The book of Job focuses on questions about God’s justice and why good people suffer. At the same time, it also asks the question, why do good people prosper?
This is important as we welcome the 500 years celebration of Christianity in the country in 2021. More so, that Cebu, the cradle of Christianity, is the host and center of the said activity.
On our part, we may realize that the calamity victims need to be comforted. They need our prayers and compassion. They need our help, both material and spiritual. I hope that our church workers would exert efforts to do the debriefing on their faith. I hope that government and private sectors would not hesitate to share their resources to the victims.
It is everyone’s call to help our suffering brethren. The meaning of the song “Give love on Christmas day” is worth reflecting.
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