Christmas Written, Unwritten, and Rewritten

By Ashraf Khater

Ashraf was the editor–in-chief for two years of Tolentine Star the official publication of the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos (UNO-R) in Bacolod City. He graduated Magna Cum Laude last March as a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Ashraf was born in Saudi Arabia and raised there until he was 12. Here he shares his experience of Christmas with his fellow student writers. 

Christmas is a time when people pause for a while and enjoy the merriment with friends and family. For Tolentine Star, the official student publication of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, (UNO-R), Bacolod City, Christmas is more than just that.

It has been an annual tradition that Advent/Pre-Christmas parties are not just mere get-togethers and food-laden events, but full of learning and its own team building in its own right. Every year, the publication goes on an excursion to celebrate the bond that we have shared and the hard work that we have accomplished throughout the year.

The author with his mother during his graduation day.

The graduating batch is tasked to prepare the festivities, which involves team-building activities. This is a sign of movement and a means of conveying important life lessons to the group of writers that would lead the publication the following year.

This provides everyone with more insight and personal learning that can’t be attained within the four walls of the classroom. Christmas kicks off with this important aspect of each party, and thus it has been a tradition.


The elements that make this Pre-Christmas party an important reminder of our humanity are how they motivate every person in the publication to express themselves in an honest manner and to provide room and potential for growth.

For the seniors, this is a time for reflection and to understand about the transition from student life to real life. For the rest, this is a time for rejuvenation, where they can learn from these stories and change for the better.

Campus writers team building.

Christmas, after all, is a time for giving. And for forgiving. Past battles and conflicts are put to rest or resolved, because each New Year welcomes in a hope for the better. This repetitive cycle is what renews faith in people because they always desire that second-but-not-so-second chance at proving themselves worthy.

They learn from their mistakes and they improve on them. This is what is important in being part of something bigger. We learn from each other and grow.

Ashraf's friends outside their school paper office.

Advent parties are not just means of reaching an end—which indicate a simple way to get away from the stress. No. Pre-Christmas parties, especially those in the vision and presentation of the student publication, involve characterizing one’s true self through that symbolic transition from one year to another.

Christmas written means to present all sentiments and all values to the group so that each one may learn and understand the perception of the other. Christmas unwritten involves stripping away negative traits and unraveling negative tendencies so that people accept weaknesses and grow. Christmas rewritten means to take a new step into the known, trusting in the sanctity of tomorrow to provide more insight that people lacked today.

After all, Christmas is about the spiritual guidance that we attain by taking that leap of faith. That leap of faith with peers who are willing to grow with us. After all, the best of victories are the plunges of faith.