12/22/2015

Scarecrow on Christmas


Scarecrows are a common sight in the agricultural province where I grew up. As in any rural landscape, especially rice fields, farmers put up scarecrows every few meters to protect their crops from birds.


Because we rarely make a trip to the province anymore, I have not seen a scarecrow in years—until yesterday. It stood on a curb in our village where birds abound in early mornings.  

Beautiful melodies of bird songs wake me up at dawn every day. So why would anyone want to scare those birds away? 

The scarecrow not only looked out of place but bizarre. What homes usually have by their gates at this time of the year is a huge Santa Claus.  

Alas, people have so varnished and re-varnished the essence of Christmas that it is now beyond recognition: Santa Claus, Christmas tree, blinking lights, lanterns, exchange gifts, parties with competition (and therefore hours and hours of rehearsals), raffle and door prizes, special dishes and pastries, and caroling. There was that one year, we received a Christmas card featuring Harry Potter and Hogwarts. 

And now, a scarecrow?!

Human beings have been gifted with creativity, so how much and how many more layering can we slop on to conceal Christmas?

A scarecrow has been invented long ago to frighten predators. It particularly scares me now, because it symbolizes how far away we've strayed from the birth of Hope; how much liberty we have taken to deface and demean the first visible scene of God's plan to redeem us from the mire in which we've buried ourselves.

I am not trying to impose my faith on anyone, but Christmas rightfully belongs to those who believe in it. We cannot celebrate it any other way but to reflect, with gratitude, the coming of Jesus, the King of kings, Savior of mankind. 

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