PIKIT, North Cotabato (MindaNews/ 10 December) — Santa Claus is very much alive, and to think this way out from a Muslim’s perspective, is doubly amazing, if not totally weird. I can’t speak for the Christians and those who likewise celebrate Christmas with Santa as the other prominent figure in addition to the Nativity. But for our Christian neighbors here I have not seen any difficulty in the way they hold the religious Christmas from the fantasy and celebrate them both and in doing so they both give and receive.
But just as Santa Claus seems to be seen more as a giver of hope and a being who is much larger than life, at least in the eyes of the innocent children, so is his memory and the way we fantasize him bring a lot of wonderful experience every Christmas.
This is just wistful thinking, before anyone of you thinks I am already less sane. But I think it is best to write Santa this early before he becomes too busy to read our letters.
But wait. Can anyone please tell me the exact address of Santa Claus? Otherwise, I will just hang this out in the chimney.
December 8, 2016
Dear Santa Claus,
At the outset, please allow me to introduce myself to you. I am a Muslim and I don’t celebrate Christmas – which doesn’t mean that we Muslims are indifferent to it but it is simply non-existent in our culture, customs or tradition.
That makes this letter free from any self-serving motive.
However, having been educated in a sectarian school, I know too well how Christmas is celebrated and how Christian children from all walks of life are told to be good for goodness sake and not to cry nor pout because YOU are coming to town. So, what’s the big deal over your coming to town?
Though you never told anyone as to when and where were you born, I surmised that you must have come from a place quite far away from the Philippines or in our promised land of Mindanao.
At this time of the year, I know you have not been to any place yet as you are busy making a list and checking it twice. I wonder for whom your gifts are intended to after finding out who’s naughty or nice. Are they for the nice and good children only, for the naughty and bad or for both? I ask this silly question however I know that you do not discriminate in the matter of giving gifts. But what are those gifts for if they were not meant as incentives for children to be nice and good? I leave everything to you and assume that you know better.
Somehow, you can’t keep me from wondering why you keep doing what you do? What do you get in return? And why do you leave Mrs. Claus all alone, out in the cold, on Christmas Eve? I think that is quite unkind of you to stay away from your loved ones on a night that is supposed to be special for them and with you by their side.
I have a lot of questions to ask you even if I know that the chance of me visited by YOU is almost nil. But if by chance we meet, some of the other questions I will ask are: a) What gifts do you usually give to children? b) What are your criteria in selecting who are entitled to your gifts? c) How do you define children in terms of age? I might still qualify as recipient of your gifts (LOL), otherwise, I will just speak for the children in my corner of the world.
Well, I think, I just have to do that especially after I found out that most, if not all, children here are no longer as enthusiastic as say, five or six decades ago, to meet you in person. Worse, and I really hope not, they have stopped believing in you. And most probably, I am the only adult left who still believes in you.
Whatever it is, I know that you travel a lot, otherwise, there is no need for your fantastic sleigh pulled by reindeers under the guidance of Rudolph; that red-nosed reindeer whose nose glows in the dark – the primary reason why you engaged him to guide your sleigh. I always see a picture of you on your sleigh: at one time, dashing through the snow; at other times, cruising along the stars. You must be traveling at the speed of light, otherwise, you won’t be able to visit all the world’s children of your choice in one Christmas Eve.
I hope you are safe, Santa. More than your safety, though, I sincerely wish that what you do makes you happy. I know a lot of people who are unhappy. I think they are stressed by selfishness, greed, pride and vanity, arrogance, envy or simply by their unfortunate circumstances. I wish you could give them happiness instead of material gifts which do not guarantee long and lasting joy.
I really wish gift-giving isn’t so materialistic this time. In fact if I had known that you also give PEACE as a gift, I would rather prefer that over anything else. That is so wanting in our Mindanao or probably in the whole world now. And I will have to add, please give peace, joy and perseverance to the unfortunate victims of political greed and economic oligarchs who push their insatiable lust for power, money and fame at all costs and by any means. I so feel for their innocent victims, especially the children, the weak and the old.
Finally, if the children in our corner of the world complain that you are just as elusive as before, you can be assured that they will stop expecting from you or at least they will no longer prepare for your coming. I can only hope that they will still continue to be nice and good whether you are coming to town or not.
Good luck Santa.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Dr. Maugan P. Mosaid is Municipal Administrator of Pikit, N. Cotabato. He is also President of the Association of Bangsamoro Doctors in the Philippines. This piece was first posted on his Facebook wall. Permission to reprint granted to MindaNews).