March 31, 2017, 8:38 am
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It’s CHRISTmas, not Xmas

When my husband had just joined Ayala Land decades ago, he was asked to join a Christmas presentation for the company owners and management team. Instead of doing the usual song-and-dance routine (well, he can dance but is an absolute disaster at singing), my husband decided to do a three-minute hand puppet show. All by his lonesome. 

He asked me to write a script for him and his hand puppet (which he borrowed from a friend). And the storyline he wanted was -- “Don’t X out Christ from Christmas!” 

Well, well, well. After he told me this, and I had recovered from two seconds of deep shock, I said -- with some trepidation because this could’ve  easily escalated into A BIG FIGHT --  “Hmmm... Don’t you think that’s a bit too much, in front of the owners and all?” 

He said, “No. It’s going to be ok. It’s Christmas. Jesus is the reason why we have Christmas. So we all need to remind each other not to forget him.” He said it matter-of-factly, with no trace of irritation. 

Which is why I had the guts to venture into dangerous waters when I said, “Hindi ba parang super-religious ang dating? Parang out of place in a Christmas program?!!” 

To which he quickly replied, “How can Jesus be out of place in a Christmas program when he’s the reason for it? Well, he’s supposed to be!” Said in such an emphatic tone that told me to keep my opinions to myself. 

After all, it was his job and his reputation on the line as a new VP. I controlled myself from rolling my eyes. And wrote the script a few days later. My husband practiced for a week, and got himself a coach to teach him how to project his voice, do his facial expressions and hand movements, for both him and the puppet. 

I honestly don’t know, to this day,  how it went. My husband said that the Ayalas paid full attention. And the audience quieted down during his presentation. He said it was probably because the puppet show by a newbie was totally unexpected -- and very, very risky. I mean, who’d want to make an utter fool of himself in front of the big bosses anyway? But my husband did. He took the risk. He risked looking weird, looking like a fool, because he wanted to remind people not to X Christ out of Christmas. 

A friend of mine who was in the audience told me later -- “That was a very unique presentation by your husband, Cata. We’ve never seen anything like it. He definitely came through.” For me, that was enough of a confirmation to convince me that my husband did the right thing. 

Sometimes, we need to make fools of ourselves to stand up for Christ. He died for us -- in an unimaginably painful and humiliating way. How can we not risk our reputations for him? How can we not risk our wealth for him? How can we not risk looking like a fool for him, when needed? It would be the height of ingratitude not to take on the challenge. 

My husband never got a dressing down -- not even a mild scolding -- from the president of Ayala then, in any of their ManCom meetings. He never had his “baptism of fire,” which meant bring balled out for even the slightest mistake during a ManCom presentation. (And he made a few but miraculously never got a scolding from the Ayala president then.) 

Before my husband resigned from the company to follow his calling of becoming a full-time pastor in CCF (Christ’s Commission Fellowship), God allowed him and his hard-working division to make a record-sale of hundreds upon hundreds of houses and lots in just a few weeks. So much so that they had sold out everything before the Open House! 

We know this was a pure blessing from God. They did their homework but it was God who gave them success. 

True success in life depends on only one thing: Do not X Christ out of your life. Instead, let him be the focal point of your life. While you may not become the richest kid on the block, while you may not have stunning wins like some people you know, you can be sure of this: you will become the biggest winner of all when Christ brings you to heaven, one day. 

Please do not commit the horrible faux pas or mistake of saying or writing  “Merry Xmas”. It’s a huge insult to Christ. And totally bad manners. Christ is the reason for Christmas. Christ is the reason we are alive. And there are no shortcuts to living a meaningful life in Christ. 

So put Christ in the center of your life. And make Christ the focal point of your CHRISTmas celebrations each year. 

Merry CHRISTmas, dear ones!!!
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