December 8, 2023

What is the reason of our joy? What is the cause of our joy? We “rejoyce” because of a reason. We are filled with joy because we allow joy to operate.
Joy can be spelled by a smile. For a doable new year’s good habit, smile always.
Smile is an expression of joy.
Joy will drastically change our facial value and facial expression. Smile is contagious. It can influence even the saddest person in town. Pope Francis will tell us again and again, “Smile is a sign of hope.” Therefore, laughter will impact more to our social atmosphere. The cliché says, “Laughter is the best medicine.” I went to buy one at the pharmacy but laughter is not being sold. Why? Because laughter is priceless. Smile and laugh always. Smile and laughter are priceless yet they are free ingredients of life. They will surely change our way of life and our way of thinking. But just a quick warning, please refrain from smiling and laughing alone. People might suspect something unusual from you.
For sure, we received gifts this Christmas. For sure, we gave gifts to people dear to us. Gifts will surely make us happy.
I grab this chance to thank Luisa Lipawen and Raiza Fowaya for the gifts received by the inmates of Mountain Province; Flor Kiat-ong for the brand new shirts shared to Barangay Tanulong, Baang, and the carpenters; Daisy Kadchan for the quality bags shared to Kilong Primary School; Engr. Alexander Castañeda for the Christmas lights for Mount Carmel Church, Kilong, and Aguid; Daisy Olowan Velasco for the apples shared to barangays Aguid, Kilong, and Tanulong.
As a giver and a receiver, the degree of joy is different. Nevertheless, the joy that comes from material gifts is different from the joy that comes from spiritual gifts.
Marijoy received an Iphone as a Christmas gift. She was so happy. Marirose was embraced by her longtime enemy on Christmas day for forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing. She was filled with joy. It radiated on her face. What kind of joy will last longer?
I am always reminded of a bitter experience on Dec. 24, 2000. I was poked with a gun. A drunk person almost ended my life. In effect, I harbored hatred, anger, and resentment that impacted on my life. I became a bitter person to almost ending pessimist. Through the grace of God, I was able to forgive the person. The act of forgiving changed my life. I became productive and healthier after the healing event. The bitterness became lasting joy after the reconciliation.
This Christmas season, let us examine ourselves. Let us be humble and honest to admit our weaknesses and sinfulness. We let go of them. If we do, then we are giving a beautiful room for Jesus in our life. In so doing, we are celebrating Christmas meaningfully. There is a different and powerful joy experienced from forgiving our transgressors.
Material gifts, of course, are good parcels of life that bring joy, but spiritual gifts will count more and its joy is lasting. St. Paul writes, strive for spiritual gifts.”
Three couples received the Sacrament of Marriage on Dec. 24. The following day was even happier. They brought their children with other children for baptism. Eighteen children were baptized. Four were accepted to the church and seven received the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Kilong Catholic Mission was loaded with joy. There were tears of joy. Indeed, the birthday of Jesus was celebrated well with spiritual gifts. Added to the joyful preparation were the Aguinaldo Masses and the Advent Masses that deepened the people’s appreciation for Christmas.
I am hopeful then that the year 2020 will be a year that will start with joy. For joy is not a mere emotion or feeling but a deeper impact of having Jesus in our hearts. Joy is an acronym to mean, “Jesus first, Others next, Yourself last.” Or simply, “Jesus, Others, Yourself.” The Basic Ecclesial Communities of barangays Tanulong, Aguid, and Baang also celebrated Christmas Day with masses, baptisms, and gift giving. The faces of the people were defined with joy. Indeed, Christmas in Kilong Catholic Mission was loaded with joy.
Music is an expression of joy. God made use of music to announce the birth of Jesus Christ.
The first song heard on Earth and in heaven was, “Glory to God in the highest and on Earth peace to people of goodwill.” The angels were joyfully singing the birth of Jesus. When we hear the popular Christmas carol, “Joy to the world the Lord has come,” we are reminded of God’s glory through Jesus. Hence, the first purpose of music is to announce the good news, to announce the glory of God, and to praise God. Mary was filled with joy and she sang her joy dubbed as “Magnificat.” Zechariah also was filled with joy and he expressed his joy through music.
When we sing Christmas carols, it must serve its original purpose. When people listen to our songs and they are pleased because the message of God is beautifully conveyed, then people will give gifts as an act of gratitude and not as a payment. It is not bad to go for Christmas caroling but when the primary purpose is business or money making, we defeat the beautiful and original meaning of Christmas carols.
I admire the initiative of some Kilong lay leaders. They planned and realized the Christmas carol fest on the evening of Dec. 25. The children and youth enjoyed singing. They were filled by the love of Jesus through music.
Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit 226, says, “Nor can we overlook the importance of the arts, like theater, painting, and others.” “Music is particularly important, representing as it does a real environment in which the youth is constantly immersed, as well as a culture and a language capable of arousing emotion and shaping identity. The language of music also represents a pastoral resource with a particular bearing on the liturgy and its renewal.” Singing can be a great incentive to young people as they make their way through life. As Saint Augustine says: “Sing, but to continue on your journey. Do not grow lazy, but sing to make the way more enjoyable. Sing, but keep going… If you make progress, you will continue your journey, but be sure that your progress is in virtue, true faith and right living. Sing then, but keep walking.”
You are invited to the Marcsongs Christmas carols for Barangay Aguid, today. I share again the Christmas carol composed last year.

Christmas Joy
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
I pray and I hope for glad tidings.
Merry Christmas is all I can share to you.
Merry Christmas, our Lord God loves you.

Like the star in the sky brightly shining that night.
Like the shepherds who witnessed the New Born King.
Like the angels who praised, “Glory on High!”
Merry Christmas upon you and me. (Chorus)

Like the kings who humbled and followed the light.
Like the Mother and Father who watched through the night.
Like the cold and the darkness dispelled by His Love.
Merry Christmas, the Glory of God. (Chorus)

Like the joy of that great lovely Christmas Day.
Like the songs of the wind softly whispering our hope.
Let’s rejoice, let us sing, let us dance with our hearts.
Happy Birthday, our Savior and King. (Chorus)

Reach me at [email protected] or at 0905-165-3669.