To the university community, colleagues, and alumni:

Oftentimes, we do not realize how many things we take for granted. One of them is enjoying Christmas with loved ones. For countless years, we have been celebrating Christmas together with family members and friends. In the last two years, however, we marked it virtually or locked up in our rooms or houses. It was meaningful, yet it was not complete. Something was missing—people whose company we long for. But now that we can again celebrate Christmas face to face, we can look back with relief. Celebrating this occasion when most, if not all, of us are together draws out more the true joy of the season.

This Christmas season is an opportune time for us to be grateful for the many ordinary events and things we experienced and received—our loved ones and friends, our work, a loving Savior; the events we get to enjoy with each other—parties, sports, meals, chats, celebrations. Our gratitude for what God and many others have done for us should spark in us selfless deeds, serenity, and humility. We can never fully attribute to ourselves alone what we have and what we have achieved.

Being grateful allows me to recall what was proclaimed by Algerian Zinedine Zidane, a coach of Real Madrid and a popular football player. (Forgive me, I am still afflicted with World Cup 2022 fever following the sensational finals game.) Zidane said: “I once cried because I had no shoes to play football with my friends, but one day I met a man who had no feet and I realized how rich I am.”

Gratefulness allows us to forget ourselves, think more of the others, and enjoy and appreciate the simple and ordinary things and events in our life. There’s no better time to reflect on this than this season of Christmas.

Dr. Winston Conrad B. Padojinog
University of Asia and the Pacific