“Give love on Christmas Day, no greater gift is there than love. What the world needs is love. Yes, the world needs more love…” This is the chorus of my favorite Christmas song, as popularized by the late Michael Jackson. This exactly reminds me of what Christmas is all about…
PUBLISHED ONOct 2016
Christmas is a season of grace in which we are called to reflect upon that generous, self-giving love of God for humanity. In the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, we can deeply contemplate this mystery of the Incarnation: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…” (John 1:14). Also St. Paul says, “… God emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being, in every way, like a human being…” (Philippians 2:5-11). How marvelous and perfect is this God’s gift of love to us all! Certainly, no greater gift is there than love.
As we enter the Christmas Season, some of us may think and worry about so many things – indoor and outdoor decorations, special gifts, food and drinks, holiday shopping, travels, family reunions, parties here and there, etc. There are many ways to prepare. In fact, the Advent Season is quite long but sometimes we tend to forget the real challenge of Christmas: preparing our hearts to be the “manger” for Baby Jesus, the Christ and the Only Begotten Son of God the Father (John 3:16). Are our hearts now ready to welcome the God of Love? Do we feel reconciled with God and with our neighbor, replacing anger, envy, jealousy, etc. with compassion, love and mercy? For St. Paul, the greatest of all is love. He says: “If I am without love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
Yes, Christmas indeed is all about the love of God for all of us. I recall one of my meaningful Christmas parties in East Africa. It was in our pastoralists’ Mission Parish of Kacheliba, North Pokot, Kenya, in December 2013, just a few days before my return to the Philippines. It was a simple, yet a heart-moving celebration participated by all the mission workers of the pastoral center, office, workshop, community house and compound. Some even came with their family members; we sang and danced and we shared our small gifts as well – in the form of assorted food. We started with a communal prayer, followed by a Christmas message by two Comboni Fathers: Hubert (German) and Filipe (Portuguese). The spirit of Christmas – sharing, unity, love and joy – was evident among us. Each one went home with a sweet smile and a grateful heart, because of the deep felt warm and close relationship within the mission.
This Christmas, may we all truly experience the Lord’s love, mercy and graciousness in our lives so that we may be able to share that same love and mercy with others, especially with our less fortunate brothers and sisters. The more we open our hearts and hands to others, the more we can make Christmas more meaningful and blissful. May God make us channels of His peace, missionaries of His mercy and witnesses to His love.