Christmas is a joyful occasion of Christ’s love. We celebrate the good news, the best news, of Jesus’ birth. Even when faced with tribulations, let us find it in our hearts to give back.
PUBLISHED ONJan 2018
As a young girl, I have always loved celebrating Christmas, my favorite occasion. It was a special time for family gatherings. As a tradition, we attend Christmas Mass as our way of saying “Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!”
But what happens when trials and challenges in life are met? How do we find the joy to celebrate Christ’s love? Can we still find it in our hearts to know what the real meaning of the season is, with Jesus as the main reason for celebration?
It was in 2010 when we lost our eldest brother. It was sudden and our family was unprepared for this tragedy that had befallen us. We never thought that 2009 would be the last Christmas we would spend with him. Before my brother passed away, our father had a ruptured appendix and had to undergo an emergency procedure. This happened during our family’s regular Christmas party and our father started to experience severe abdominal pains. Before we knew it, we were at the hospital.
House getting robbed by intruders right before Christmas, our mother almost being kidnapped (senior napped), car accident involving half of our family, me being bedridden for six months because of a medical condition, our parents crying while praying the Rosary – it felt like there was no end to years of heartrending sad events. How will we be able to cope?
But with our eldest brother, his death came as the heaviest blow for all of us. Our mother, unable to speak at his eulogy, found it hard to bear the pain of losing a child, her firstborn. It was only on his 40th day when we had a special Mass for him that our mother, in broken sobs, was finally able to open up and say her farewell words to my kuya.
Mama Mary bore the good news of giving birth to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Along with that came the immense responsibility of being the chosen one to nurture, care for and love who will become the world’s redeemer. The greatest loss, the biggest heartache that followed with our Lord being crucified was the most painful moment a mother could ever witness in her lifetime.
The normal life cycle is for children to attend to their parents until their twilight years. For our parents, losing their eldest child was the most difficult experience for them to go through.
When December came around in 2010, we all found it to be the start of our loneliest Christmas ever. Gone were the days of seeing our eldest brother smile. We missed his quirky sense of humor that brought laughter to our parents. At times when they would get angry, it was only our eldest brother who could crack a joke and make them forget their troubles.
But still, we were able to pick up the pieces. We continued with our family gatherings. We held on to our strong faith. We may have been shaken but our trust in God kept us together. Even when we found other ways of celebrating, our family withstood the tests of time and we stayed as one. Just as our eldest brother gave his life as a service to others, we realized the deep love that our Lord Jesus Christ the Messiah had in giving His life for us so that we will be forgiven.
During Christmas, let it not just be about the parties or gifts under the tree. Instead, let it be the time for us to give back as our birthday present to Jesus. There are those who are in dire needs; caught between war-stricken zones, homeless from natural and man-made calamities, terminally ill, no food to eat, no clothing to protect them from the cold. Return the favor by showing Jesus’ love with your own little ways that can mean so much to them even if only during Christmas. Better yet, make every day, throughout the year, a Christmas way of giving back the love Jesus has given us.