February 6, 2023

“I was never late in school. I never incurred absences because my father wakes me early, prepares me, cooks the food, feeds me, and brings me to school.”
“Sana all,” was my reaction to such a wonderful and honest response of a five-year-old kid.
Advent means “coming” and logically means the need to prepare. The “coming” is threefold. Jesus came already and that is history. He will come again in the future and he will come in glory. The two comings are punctuated by his coming in mystery that is his coming today in the sacraments. In short, he came in history, in mystery, and in glory.
The spiritual preparation means profound vigilance. Vigil means to stay awake, to pray, or even to sing. Vigil is the root word of vigilance. We await the Lord in the atmosphere of vigilance.
Advent and Christmas season have beautiful themes that help us animate our faith and to look forward to the second coming of Jesus in glory.
Jesus is the greatest gift of God to his people. Jesus as a name means “God saves.” True enough God gave us the gift of salvation which Christmas reminds us. God gave us life as a gift and he did not give with conditions. As a sign of gratitude, we take good care of our life but above that it must be our act of righteousness.
Jesus instituted the Holy Mass as our real spiritual encounter and nourishment, “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.”
“Take this all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”
The Misa de Aguinaldo is our best gift to ourselves, to our families, and to God. For indeed, God does not need material gifts, our prayers in deeds will surely be better gifts to the Lord. We sacrifice to wake up early in the morning and attend the Misa de Aguinaldo for nine consecutive days as our way to prepare for Jesus’ birth and our way to thank Him.
Christmas is the best time to thank the giver: 1. Jesus as a gift from the Father, 2. our life, and the 3. Misa de Aguinaldo or the Holy Mass.
Gifts are freely given and that defines a gift. It is not tied with conditions. Giving is selfless. I therefore encourage each one to use the word “gift giving” during Christmas parties with gifts instead of “exchange gift.” We don’t give so that we will receive. That sense of giving is no longer the sense of gift but “give and take” or sheer reciprocity. Christmas is not “give and take.”
Mary cannot be removed from the Christmas story. Once a little child asked, “What is the family name of Mary?” Her mother quickly answered, “Christmas! Mary Christmas.” It makes sense, “Mary Christ Mass!” The story of Christmas is the story of God, Mary, and Christ. Christ means savior.
Therefore, the Lord himself will give a sign: The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
There is a viral article on Facebook disclaiming the birth of Jesus and many people seemingly are convinced. Somebody tagged me in the article and solicited my opinion.
My comment revolved in three points: First, everyone can just write and upload on Facebook. It will surely shake our faith and be lost if we are not founded in our faith.
Second, look for the source and examine thoroughly the background and motivation.
Third, the Bible has been with us for more 2,000 years. The Bible is our best and strongest basis for Jesus’ birth. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
Christmas is the birth of Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s promise, the realization of the prophecy. Christmas is the gift of God to his people.
Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday Jesus!
Happy birthday too, manong Padi Benny Castañeda (Dec. 16), manong Jess Castañeda, and Cheryl Castañeda Henry (Dec. 25).
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