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Heart Mangers

What is the best Christmas gift? As this season of giving and receiving begins, what is indeed the best gift not only to ourselves, our families, but to Him? Aside from availing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a unique gift is that of being a heart manger.

In general, the ambience of Christmas brings about happiness and excitement. There are those of course, who feel sad that at such an important occasion, they are separated from their loved ones either by distance or because of the death of the latter. 

Whatever the case might be, we need to remember that we value this season first and foremost, because it is the Natal Day of the Lord Jesus, our Savior. It is worth asking then, what is our gift to THE Birthday Celebrator? How do we prepare ourselves interiorly, not just exteriorly, so that He could truly be born into our souls? 

Perhaps it would be good to sincerely avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the Advent season. We could consciously cooperate with His graces to forgive those who have hurt us. Or, we could exert greater effort to be patient with those who irritate us. We might be led to practice more perseverance in the midst of heavy traffic or busyness. 

Secondly, we could make ourselves much more available to listen to them. Some individuals organize days of outreach to underprivileged children. We could go out of our way to help clean the church or give catechism sessions.

Thirdly, we will not discount the fact that our Lord came to offer Himself as a gift. Yes, the Birthday Celebrator has a blow-out of blessings! What graces do we need in a special way this Christmas?  

In the hustle and bustle of both the Advent and Christmas seasons, it is easy to get distracted with external endeavors, commercialism and the stresses that might come with these. Just think of the rush, the parties, the need for more parking spaces. Religiously speaking, this is also a loaded period for us who are active in the Church. In the Philippines and in Filipino Communities abroad, there are the Dawn Masses starting on Dec. 16, and nowadays, the evening Novena Masses beginning on Dec. 15. For many priests and Church workers, these seasons might be even more hectic than other months. For us inspirational speakers and recollection facilitators, our schedules are usually filled with invitations. 

Amidst the thrill and the festivities, may we deeply cherish the gifts of redemption and hope that the Savior gives us by being Emmanuel, “God-with-us” in our daily challenges and tribulations. He is indeed the reason for these seasons. What is Christmas without Christ? The best present we can offer Him is to strive, with His help, to be other Christs as we warmly welcome Him into our heart mangers. 


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