For Marcos, 'love' is true essence of holiday season

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 25) — In his first holiday greeting to Filipinos as chief executive, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. emphasized the true essence of the holiday season: love.

"The story of Christ's birth has become an integral part of our culture and, every year, we have become more accustomed to commemorating this day with gatherings, thanksgiving, and merrymaking," he said.

"No matter the evolution of its observance, it is imperative that we emphasize the true essence of this holiday—love," he added.

The President urged Filipinos to embrace the "generosity and goodwill" connoted by the holidays as a means to survive challenges in life.

"It is this pure and simple love that Christmas represents—the same one that we constantly desire and need—that allows it to be more than just a Christian tradition," Marcos said.

"Across beliefs, all the generosity and goodwill stirred in this season are welcomed," he also said. "Surely, embracing these will help us overcome the difficulties brought by the pandemic and other challenges."

The chief executive also called on Filipinos to celebrate the holidays in a simple manner.

"Let our spirits not dwell on the adornments that we display, on the buzz and activities we create, nor on the lack thereof," he said. "Instead, let us partake in this holiday with the same simplicity, sense, and meaning that we get from it."

He continued: "Let us freely offer our smiles, share conversation, or impart wisdom to our peers, our loved ones, and even strangers. Let our affection be known and felt in the simplest of ways so that the eternal message of the Nativity of Christ may again spark hope for a brighter future in the hearts of all."

The first family also posted on social media their holiday message, highlighting the theme of unity for continuous recovery.

READ: Marcos declares Dec. 26 as special non-working day

Meanwhile, Vice President Sara Duterte gave her Christmas message at her family’s traditional gift-giving event held at the ancestral house of former president Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City.

She said love, forgiveness, and sharing were the three virtues of Christmas needed for people to live a peaceful life.

"Una, ang Pasko ay para sa paghigugmaay or love. Dili kinahanglan na dagko atong mga regalo. Ang importante sa pasko ay malipay ang kasing-kasing sa atong mga minahal sa kinabuhi," Duterte said.

[Translation: First, Christmas is for love. It is not necessary for us to have big gifts. The important thing in Christmas is for our loved ones to be joyful.]

"Ikaduha, pagpasaylo or forgiveness. Karong adlawa gianak ang atong Lord Jesus Christ. Ang mensahe Niya, mangayo ta ug pasaylo sa Ginoo. Mao pud na ang tema sa Pasko," she added.

[Translation: Second, forgiveness. Today our Lord Jesus Christ was born. His message is for us to ask forgiveness from God. This is also the theme of Christmas.]

The vice president reiterated that "sharing" is the third virtue of Christmas.