What’s Christmas all about? – by Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

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Somebody said that to make the wife happy, the husband must give her six things, namely, Sincerity, Affection, Love, Attention, Respect, and “Yes” always. So that husbands won’t forget, there’s an acronym for it: SALARY.

What’s Christmas all about? “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16). That’s what Christmas is all about! This Christmas, let us remember that beyond and behind our gift-giving, prayerful devotions, Masses and celebrations, we should give grateful love in return to this God who loved us so much and gave us His only begotten Son. May we make His love overflow to people around us!

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 1, 18-24), we hear how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. We know about Mary’s “yes” to a divine plan which she did not even understand. But in today’s Gospel, we are reminded that Joseph, too, said “yes” to an impossible and a difficult situation he got into. But Joseph was a righteous man. He could have decided to disown Mary, or worse, even opt to have the child aborted! Like Mary, he obeyed, and the rest is history.

If Joseph and Mary were rich and powerful, would they have obeyed? Power and money can make us think that we can “fix” anything and anyone, even God. Money can make us feel proud and entitled, and even make us believe that we are greater gods than the rest of the “ordinary people” around us. Money can corrupt our thinking, our character and our very soul. Money has been, and still is, one of the most effective tools of the evil one.

Aside from the traffic, a lot of people get stressed during the Christmas season because they have to organize the gift-giving, the noche buena meal, the parties, and a thousand and one things to get done, and get over with. Actually, you can do away with all these, and it’s still Christmas! Maybe you don’t have to organize or do so much. Christmas is not so much about doing as being—being prayerful, being humble, being cheerful, being kind and being truly present.

I say the 4 a.m. dawn Mass at Antipolo Street, Sampaloc, Manila, the past 20 years, every Dec. 18, my Papa’s birthday. He lived in a boarding house “along the riles” when he was studying law at the University of the Philippines, Padre Faura, and I wanted to honor him and other people with humble beginnings, who make it through hard and honest work. That, too, is what Christmas is all about—something good coming out of difficult situations because of hard work, obedience, faith and hope in God.

A Christmas moment happened when at the moment of consecration in that dawn Mass along the riles, I heard the horn and the roar of the first train coming from Tutuban, as if proclaiming the coming of the Savior, shaking the very ground where we were standing as it passed by. May we not miss nor belittle God’s presence especially this Christmas.

The gift of being — being prayerful, being humble, being hardworking, being kind — was manifested in the life of Brother Romualdo Abulad, SVD, who went home to the heavenly Father last Dec. 17. Brother Romy, from Lucban, Quezon, was dean of studies at the Christ the King Seminary, and taught at De La Salle University, Loyola School of Theology, and at his alma mater, University of Santo Tomas. He was a luminary in the academe, especially in the field of philosophy, but he remained unassuming, cheerful and welcoming.

Wishing you all the 3 H—Healthy, Happy, and Holy Christmas!

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us that Christmas is all about You who loved us so much that You gave us Your only begotten Son. Amen.

Best gift this Christmas…

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