Dear Parishioners and Friends,
We all get excited about Christmas. When I was in the Philippines last month, many of the houses and business establishments were already decked with Christmas decorations. They say that Christmas start early in the Philippines and Filipinos celebrate Christmas for the longest time. After the devastating earthquake and super typhoon that hit the Philippines, the celebration of Christmas may not be the same again for those who have been affected by these calamities. However, the celebration of Christmas reminds them that they are not alone. Emmanuel, the God-who-is-with-us, comes in the person of the child Jesus who was born on that first Christmas Day. This is the good news that we hear and that is why we get excited about Christmas.
The excitement about Christmas tends to bring out the best in us. This is the time when we become more generous. Most of the time, our generosity is the result of our sacrifices. We give until it hurts for that is what real giving means. In the Philippines a lot of Filipinos have decided that instead of having lavish Christmas parties, they would donate the money to be spent for the parties to the earthquake and typhoon victims. That’s something exciting not only to the victims but also to the donors because this is what the spirit of Christmas is all about. I am sure that many of us here in America have done our part in reaching out to those devastated by these calamities.
Finally, what is more exciting about Christmas is that it is not just a once a year event. There is a Christmas carol that says something like this: We wish that everyday is Christmas. Indeed Christmas can be a daily event when we all try to identify our will with that of God's will. When we reach out to others in need, Christmas happens. When we humble ourselves to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others as well, Christmas takes place. It is Christmas when we forget ourselves in many ways to prioritize the well-being of others. When we are able to do all these we can all rejoice and join the heavenly hosts in singing, "Glory to God in the highest!"
Magandang Pasko po! Merry Christmas!