MERRY CHRISTMAS!

By Luis G. Dato

The Christmas season, it is here
The gladsomest of all the year.
Two thousand years or so this morn
To Virgin Mary Christ was born.
Long, long ago, in Bethlehem,

In a low manger lay the Gem,
A Babe whose light the world would see,
Whose star snuffed out in Calvary,
Would nonetheless resourge to life,
The Prince of Peace to, men at strife,

The God made Man, the Prophets’ dream,
That from his sins man would redeem;
Hence the rejoicing at His birth
Of all the nations of the earth;
The shepherds sang their songs in shifts,

The Magi from the East brought gifts,
And solitary shone a star
Ilumining the world afar From that dim,
distant day to this,
A Light e’en heathens could not miss.

And so behold in every home,
Wherever, far or near, you roam,
Cold though the season of the year,
There is a bit of Christmas cheer:
In tinselled glow of downtown shops,
The dolls, the toys what child but stops
To roll his eyes in rapture there,
Those to possess, his Christmas care?

The barrios, too, have Christmas cheer,
Make no mistake and spare the jeer;
There’s night-long romance, serenades
Till the gold moon with daylight fades;
The swain astride his carabao
The latest song hits sings, and how!
He, too has dreams and woos his lass,
On her blessed paths grows not the grass,

For, half in sooth and half in sport,
The rustic blades their lassies court,
And nowhere is it better time
Than when the bells of Christmas chime.

Was Jesus God? Was He a man?
In vain the sages Heaven scan
For answer, since not Mind but Faith
Alone can find Him, Jesus saith.
Christ, we believe! from eyes remove
The veil that hides You from our love;
To us what greater miracles
Than those which daily each bird tells?
God, too, was born, even as we, His image of mortality.

And you, blind unbeliever, see The folly of your heresy;
You, hard of heart, let Christmas thaw
In its warm sun your heart of snow,
Let men in Christmas all believe,
Bask in His peace, live and let live;
May Christ the warring worlds unite
With following the ancient light;

The carols sing, strum the guitars
Beneath the light of twinkling stars;
Up wit h the Christmas tree o’erhung
With gifts to all, the old and young;
The multi-colored lanterns make
To light the streets for Jesus’ sake;
The mangers build, for we must be
As Jesus was in His humility.

Then know His birth is symbol clear
Of sacred human life held dear,
Not cheaply, as we often do,
God’s grace shines in us through and through.
And give your gifts as thanks that God
Breathed life unto the Adamic sod,
And from his ribs gave Eve to wife —

Two supreme gifts of love and life
For which the thoughtful human should
Give gifts himself in gratitude,
To deluge the whole world with love
Which love begets, below, above.

Your neighbors love, forgive your foes,
This is His message from the Cross,
And, God permitting, may you be
A hubbub of felicity,
May Christmas and the New Year bring
To you the best of everything!

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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