For the past two decades, Central Philippine University and Central Philippine University Alumni Association, Inc. would host the annual Festival of Lights and Music on the first Friday of December. Up to 50,000 people would flock the campus every year to see the opening, and to grace the nightly events.
This year 2020, on December 4, 2020, the opening was done without the fireworks, the kiosks, the throngs of people and the many lights. The pandemic caused by COVID-19 may have altered our plans but it cannot stop the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. This year’s theme: “Kasanag kag Paglaum sa Paskwa” assures us that Jesus is the light and the hope of the world especially as we face the pandemic.
One of the important keywords in the Christmas story is the word Immanuel. The birth of Jesus Christ is a fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14 that the Messiah will be called Immanuel.
The Hebrew word Immanuel means “God is with us.” This is a very apt reminder for us today as we face the pandemic.
To those who feel lonely, depressed and isolated, let us encourage them with the word “Immanuel” — God is with them and will comfort them.
To those who are oppressed and are experiencing injustice, let us assure them with the word “Immanuel” — God is with them and has heard their cries.
To those who are afflicted with Covid-19 and are anxious of the pandemic, let us tell them “Immanuel — God is with them and will heal them.
To those who are affected economically by the pandemic, let us remind them of the word “Immanuel” — God is with them in their struggles.
So, this Christmas season, let us thank God that He is Immanuel. God will continue to be true to His promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications
Cntral Philippine University