Does Christmas come only in December? THE SUNNY PHILOSOPHER by Salvador D. Flor, Ph.D.

WHAT is there in Christmas that turns men’s hardened hearts away from violence into seekers of peace and goodwill even when out of yuletide season, converting a violent world into a peaceful planet?

You do not have to go far to find the answer. Which is the reason why everybody fervently wishes that Christmas be observed not only in December but everyday of the year.

If devoutly pursued, this search for love and peace, there would be little need for men to forge peace with enemies through messy written compacts.

The following stories bring to us the answer to the question, what makes Christmas a season of peace and goodwill? And does Christmas come only in December?

During WW II in Europe, American and German soldiers accidentally strayed into a German household not far from the German lines. The Americans arrived first, having lost their way. Then came German soldiers with a wounded companion.

Their host, the wife of a German worker who was away, managed to keep the tense atmosphere cheerful. It was the eve of Christmas and she was preparing a fine dinner.

At the dinner table, the silence was punctuated by conversation between the Americans and the Germans as if the war did not exist. When it was time to go, the guests shook hands, with the Germans showing the Americans the way to the Allied lines.

The story, published in the Reader’s Digest, years ago, was titled Truce in the Forest.

The Christmas Story by Charles Dickens is an example of what the season can do to the vilest of human beings.

The main character, Scrooge, after being shown by the Christmas ghost ‘his past, present, and future’ life, what awaited hum in the days to come, turned a new leaf, realizing he had led a life of greed.

Before the story ended, Scrooge, did not only hike his assistant’s salary which was long overdue but invited his whole family to a Christmas celebration at his office.

The next days showed Scrooge a changed man.

The story of Fr. Damien de Vuester, a Belgian priest, did not happen in December, but it showed that Christmas with its message of peace and goodwill to men could come anytime of the year.

In May 1863, Fr. Damien sailed for Molokai in the Pacific inhabited by lepers. He went there to tend the sick and dying lepers. He celebrated mass for them, helped build houses, offered them comforts. Eventually, he became a leper.

He died on April 15, 1889. His death had led to a worldwide efforts to help leprosy sufferers. The book, Fr. Damien by Pam Brown said his body was given State Funeral in Belgium 46 years after his death.

In his diary, Fr. Damien said: “I lived a long time under the shelter of a tree, not wishing to sleep under the same roof as the lepers. I was able to build myself a hut, 16 feet long, 11 feet wide where I am now writing these lines.

“Well, I have been here six months, surrounded by lepers and I have not caught the infection,” he said.

The book said Fr. Damien had given the lepers hope and pride. He loved them like a family and in the end he died as one of them.

Christmas can happen anytime of the year. All it takes is love.