Advent and the Filipino


There is something in the Filipino that hates waiting. I have always been puzzled by this. We enjoy our mangoes green. We eat and even drink them way before they ripen into golden yellow. We also enjoy our papayas green. He eat them as vegetables in a chicken stew (tinola) or as a base for shrimp fritters (okoy) or as a pickled appetizer (atchara). We start celebrating and enjoying the Christmas season as soon as the ‘ber’ months roll in, that is as early as Septem’ber’.

We Filipinos can’t wait to spend our money. Give any Asian person (like an Indian or a Chinese), say, a hundred dollars. He will immediately think, “How can I make this grow? Where and how can I invest it to make it earn more?” Give the same amount to a Filipino and his immediate impulse is, “How can I spend this? What, where and how can I use this to have fun and enjoy?”

I sometimes think this must be because of fragility and the gossamer quality of life in the Philippines: here today, gone tomorrow. Like, right now, the country is again being buffeted by another strong typhoon. Tacloban, still reeling and rebuilding from the devastation of Yolanda last year, has to contend yet again with another lady from the sea, this time named Ruby. I can imagine people thinking: Let us enjoy whatever we have now before it gets blown away by another disaster or catastrophe, whether natural or man-made. The latter of which we have also a lot of. Many people go hungry and never know from where or how the next meal will come. So, they eat as much as then can when there is food, to hopefully tide them over till the next uncertain meal.

Or, it might be because we miss out on the lessons of the seasons. We essentially have only two seasons: wet and dry. Or, as one wit said, hot and hotter. There is nothing you can do today that cannot be put off tomorrow. There is no sense of urgency as when one has to contend with the coming of winter. So, people have no sense of preparation and planning for the changing of the seasons. People in temperate climes know that winter is coming when the leaves start changing colors and then fall. It is time to prepare for the rigors of winter.

Advent teaches us the value of waiting and preparation. And again here the Filipino trait of not being able to wait shows. We have a lot of beautiful liturgical songs for the different times on the liturgical calendar. We have great Christmas songs but hardly any Advent songs. I share these thoughts and pray that we Filipinos begin to learn the value of waiting and preparation. Scott Peck once wrote that one of the hallmarks of maturity is the ability to wait and postpone gratification. Would that we as a people learn to wait, prepare, and plan as we await and prepare for the coming of our Savior and salvation during this Advent Season.

Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
~ Psalm 85

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”

John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Mark 1:1-4

This entry was posted in Identity, Nature, Philippines/Filipino, Photography, The Good News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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