Most Meaningful Christmas Greeting

My Uncle Erning, an Iglesia ni Cristo diakono, visited our home today. Conscious about being sensitive to the religious beliefs of others, I would usually say ‘Happy Holidays’–a greeting more safe. (For those who don’t know yet, INCs don’t celebrate Christmas.)

But when I kissed Uncle Erning’s hand, he smiled at me and greeted me with a voice most joyful and sincere: Merry Christmas, Anak.

So there. The warmest Christmas greeting I received came from a man who does not even believe in Christmas. Most INC members I know are very fiery in the expression of their beliefs. But there he was, my Uncle Erning, realizing that it was not about himself, but about our family’s happiness.

He greeted me… and it was not cliché.

Christmas accomplished.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

43 thoughts on “Most Meaningful Christmas Greeting”

  1. Thanks Herdy! Learned somehing from this. Once kasi, I made the mistake of greeting someone Merry Christmas who is INC. Kaya pala, happy new year ang sagot sa akin, ha.ha.ha. Next time, Happy holidays na rin ang greet ko.

  2. Yeah, pati po yung mga saksi ni Jehovah, walang krismas sa kanila, at hindi rin sila nagdiriwang ng birthday. Pero may mga kapitbahay kaming INC na nagcacaroling, hehe. Hayyy, hirap talaga ng buhay, hehe

  3. Oo nag-carolling pero sana iniba man lang nila yung lyrics para consistent sa kanilang pananampalataya… Parang ganito:

    “We wish you a Happy New Year. We wish you a Happy New Year. We wish you a Happy New Year and a Haaaaappy New Year.”


  4. whew! yes ang mga saksi ni Jehovah ay hindi naniniwala na ang kapanganakan ni Jesus ay December. I have something to share, nagkayayaan kasi kaming magfriefriends na itry daw naming mangaroling. Eh nagagree naman ang lahat kaya nangaroling kami. Sa first 2 na nangarolingan namin, ahah binigyan kami ng mejo malaking amount. Ayun natuwa kami kaya tinuloy-tuloy namin. Kaya lang sa pangatlo, ngek mga saksi pala sila, eh hindi naman namin alam. Ayun imbes na bigyan kami ng cash or watever binigay samin eh mga pieces of advice, yung mga tungkol sa paniniwala nilang hindi ipinanganak si Jesus ng December. Pero ayus lang naman.KAhit na ganun ang nangyari tinuloytuloy pa namin ang pangangaroling.

  5. Some of us doesnt believe in christmas but sometimes those who doesnt believe are the people who understands more and know the real essence of it.

  6. i suddenly became envious of the “Merry Christmas, Anak” greeting your uncle said to you. i am 17 yrs. old and turning 18 this year and I’ve heard many greetings before but i haven’t been greeted the way your uncle greeted you. i wish someone would also tell me that with that kind of expression. next time, i’ll greet everyone like your uncle greeted you. and maybe, i’ll also get the same response! like- “what you give will come right back to you”. thank you, i really learned something…

    1. Little acts of kindness happen in everyday life, all we need to appreciate them is some sensitivity… What made my uncle’s greeting special is the element of self-sacrifice that went with it.

  7. yeah right, we must learn from this…we have different principles and beliefs in life.. we have different religions as well… therein we must respect others belief,..Happy holidays will be the safest greeting and it conquers all…=)

  8. hahaha,
    im an INC
    actually dec 25 is not proven,
    me too, i greet my friends sometimes, but in this world so many people are just kidding all d time, like me when i greet after 5 seconds we laughing already, its just kidding

    to sir herdy, maybe ur uncle just kidding also, or hard to say, he is not true INC :D, many people use INC in self interest,
    just respect INC because no other religion like us.

    forgive my grammar, XD

    1. You miss the point. I have respect for every religion… boy, I even respect those who don’t have any.

      Greeting the Muslims “Happy Eid-ul-Fitr” when Ramadan ends doesn’t mean you believe in Islamic teachings. It just shows that you respect their beliefs and that you share their happiness. That’s what Uncle Erning did. And no, my Uncle didn’t use INC for self-interest. In fact, by doing what he did, he showed how selfless a person could get. If at all, what he gained by greeting me “Merry Christmas” (no matter how fake you think the date is) was my respect and admiration. Now, don’t burst the bubble.

      Greeting others then laughing at them afterward is the height of arrogance. You demand for respect (which is better gained in the first place), but you show very little in this case.


  9. by the yaw sir, i don’t know that some inc dont know how to celebrate christmas. now i know thanks for your article sir????
    i thought all inc celebrate their christmas “bongga”
    because some of them or many of them are very rich.

  10. “christmas”….i’m a born again christian so we celebrate christmas…….all of us, my relatives and friends celebrating christmas….there is no perfect person living in this world, so why should some people didn’t agree to celebrate “christmas”…. all i thought is a year is not complete without christmas. we have to celebrate the day with JESUS. NAY YAW AWAN KAN A NU DIM AMMU TI PASKUA.:-)

  11. well they told us that INC dont celebrate christmas.. but when i ask my manang she told me that one of her classmate an INC did attend their christmas prog. in their school… hhmm aginkukuna dan sa met kunak idi… But honestly speaking, adu kanyada ngem kadagitay talaga a napeklan nga INC they really dont celebrate christmas… just like my pisan.. Some INC also attend JS Prom. Minsan nga tinanong ko yung pinsan ko kung ok lang silang mag attend, ok naman daw pero yung iba hindi daw… may mga bawal din kahit pinayagan sila… like they are not allowed to have a dance daw… Ano ba talag INC???pero huwag na tayong magtaka pag ibigay man nila response nila pag igrinit natin sila ng MERRY CHRISTMAS.. Tao pa rin po naman sila and we have to respect them… for me its not about the religion… its about the way how they show their love… batiin man nila tayo or hindi…

  12. I wished I could attached the picture of my artificial Christmas tree at home here from the West Coast. It is a collapsible tree that I purchased ten years ago at Sears Department Store. We do not use the real pine-tree because of the smell emanating from the resin extract of the tree. It caused severe allergy to some members of my family.

    Anyway, as Herdy pointed to other topic in this board, sectarian religion is a very devisive tools when it comes to various Holidays Observance. It has come to my attention that certain sector are very contentious of their beliefs about the validity of Christmas holidays. As a believer of the Catholic faith, Christmas to me is sharing, foregiving and believing of an everlasting peace to mankind. I do not see any complicated issue of my belief and you do not need to be a rocket science person to understand.

    1. Yes, Sir William. The world would be a more peaceful place if everyone thought like you. We need people to gain tolerance, appreciation, and respect, for the views of others, religious or political.

      My Tito, apparently, was able to transcend the tall barriers of his own religion.

  13. It is hard to comment,… hehe.
    An INC diakono who greet Merry Xmas that dont celebrate this ocassion?
    What comes to my mind is that, for the sake of the family, this INC diakono respect of what all of us celebrated. its not of himself but its for those who surrounds him who celebrate this kind of ocassion.
    But it is a big surprise to me if their is a person who belongs to that beliefs will greet me a Merry Xmas,,….

  14. that’s a most gift that i receive when that will happen to me…very appreciative and we can see that he didn’t mind the religion that he have all he want is that to make his family happy that day he makes also happy we know the belief of other religion and we respect that….

  15. Blood is always thicker than anything else, religion, affiliation or even a newly constructed bridge .He greeted because he know that you are celebrating Christmas, he simply recognise you as a Christian who is celebrating Christmas after you kiss his hand (a sign of respect) and he is human to tell the sweet word “Merry Christmas, anak”. Recognition is the best way to show how you love a person.

  16. Blood is always thicker than anything else, religion, affiliation or even a newly constructed bridge .He greeted because he know that you are celebrating Christmas, he simply recognise you as a Christian who is celebrating Christmas after you kiss his hand (a sign of respect) and he is human to tell the sweet word “Merry Christmas, anak”. Recognition is the best way to show how you love a person and that family itself.

  17. When will we ever have a meaningful Christmas? In my years of existence never have i felt Christmas so meaningful. Every time its Christmas, you can see a lot of foods here and there. But what is for when the family is not together. I feel bad whenever my parents would drink like they never had and later on begin a never ending quarrel, even in Christmas eve.
    Christmas for me is sharing, forgiving and forgetting. But some people just ignore forgiving and sharing, most of them are forgetting.

  18. Yes, December 25 is not proven and as I know It was declared by priests.
    For me, I don’t like the saying: ang pasko ay panahon o araw ng bigayan at pagpapatawad or stuffs. where in fact we can share, give gifts and forgive everyday. at ang kinaiinisan ko ay ang NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION, magbabago ka lang ng ugali pag new year? mamomotivate ka lang magbago ng ugali pag new year? amft.

    anyway, I don’t get why Sir Yumul’s uncle greeted him Merry Christmas when he didn’t believe in Christmas… for me we shouldn’t compromise our faith. you know, you can respect other’s religion without compromising your OWN religion.

    1. You’ve got a good point there, supremo. One can respect other beliefs without sacrificing one’s own. But, let’s see it in this light… we greet the Muslims when Ramadan ends not because we practice it but because it is important to them and so we share their happiness.

  19. I also have relatives that are INC.. And i am not used of hearing them greet other people during holidays and birthdays, but sometimes, they do.. 😀 I just thought how a greeting from our loved ones mean much, the feeling that it brings, warms the heart, makes us smile.. 😀

  20. First of all, I wanted to greet everyone “Merry Christmas!” Yes it’s true that it’s not a matter of religion but it’s a matter of family. Religion must not divide us; indeed, it must build a better relationship with one another. I am touched with the story, and I myself will not hesitate to do that if I know that it will make my family happy =)

  21. For children, giving them presents which in a form of material will make them already happy but for us mature ones simple greeting from a very special person or from those persons whom we values so much would mean everything. People may be different when it comes to beliefs but those differences are not reasons make others more happier than we think makes them happy in a usual way.

  22. We people, may have different beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we have to forget other things such as a simple greeting that would make or mean something to someone on special occasions like Christmas. Catholics and other sects are known to celebrate this event every year on the 25th of December, while INC doesn’t celebrate Christmas. But for the sake of happiness, a simple greeting would not make a sin. After all, what’s with the simple greeting compared to the happiness you can give.

  23. Ang pagbating iyon ay tunay ngang espesyal..
    ang isang INC ay may karapatan din naman dapat na mag celebrate ng x-mas,.pero dahil sa paniniwala nila(na dapat natin talagang i respeto:-)) ay hindi na nila nadarama ang saya na pag pasko gaya nating mga katoliko,..etc..

  24. I remember when I was young I used to carol in other houses and once I came in this house, they are INC’s they said “iglesia kami” then I said to my friend which is also an INC so what? He said INC doesn’t celebrate Christmas. So I am happy that an INC greets you a merry Christmas sir.. 🙂

  25. “its not about himself, its about the family’s hapinness”
    Oo naman kasi, kung kit among masaya ang pamilya dapat naman suportahan. Overwhelming naman kasi isang INC nag Christmas kahit wala silang ganito.
    Basta sa pamilya talaga, ang laki ng impluwensa.

  26. it is hard to say to someone, even if that person is very close to you, something that is against your belief. ofcourse, we value are loved ones very much. in such cases like this holiday, (well i also do not celebrate christmas), we try our best, without hippocrisy, to make feel to them the like essense christmas give.

  27. Im also an Iglesia Ni Cristo but my mom’s not. We visit over Christmas in my aunts’ in Manila. For them we are gathered because it’s Christmas season. For me I joined them not to celebrate Christmas but to celebrate because we again has become one. I respect them because no religion will keep us apart and I go for the family’s joy.

  28. it is only september and christmas is already on the air .i still long for the old times when christmas is christmas the old fashion way.when we were young we go caroling and we got the homemade tupigs sometimes still hot .wow yummy.nowadays it is so commercialized that we forget the true meaning of christmas .when christ was born in a manger nothing fancy .nowadays kids are soo brainwashed and expect too much i.e. techie gadgets …but wherever you maybe whatever your religion is whether you celebrate christmas it boils down to one thing…birth of jesus… fruhe weinachten..maligayang pasko merry christmas or joyeaux noel.

  29. Sa mga Katoliko at iba pang relihiyon, marami tayong ipinagdiriwang tuwing Disyembre. Nandyan yung Noche Buena sa Christmas Eve. Syempre may mga pakulong Christmas program at New Years Eve. Sadyang ang buwan na ito ay napakasaya sa lahat dahil dito nagbobonding ang lahat ng pamilya. Ang Iglesia ay ipinagdiriwang lang nila New Year. Mas makabuluhan talaga ang Pasko kung ang isang kaanib sa Iglesia ay babati ng Maligayang Pasko na kung tutuusin ay hindi sila naniniwala dito.

  30. Some people/religious groups are really skeptical on the exact date of Jesus’ birthday because December is too cold and impossible for shepherds and sheep to stay outdoors in Jerusalem, then and now. But the irony of all ironies is the fact that the Jews do not accept Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah. Jesus is a Jew, like all of His disciples and most of His Apostles are from the Middle East region, but there are no Catholic Jews. There are Christian Palestinians but no Christian Jews. Torah, the holy book of Judaism, has no writings that identify Jesus’ significance. Torah is somewhat identical to the Old Testament. Their Muslim cousins recognize Jesus (He is called ‘Isa’ in their holy book, the Quoran) as a prophet. The Moslem practice of Fasting during this month of Ramadan is in parallel to Jesus’ fasting, to cleanse the human body of earthly impurities. Happy Holidays! Mazel tov! Kullo am wa antom bekeir! Ramadan mubarak! Cheerful greetings are multinational, multi-racial and universal, should not be divisive, but rather friendly and unifying…

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