Rev. Fr. Emilio A. Ascaño, LRMS
2020 has already proved a difficult year, and at this point, it’s expected that our Christmas and New Year’s celebrations look a little different too. With fewer activities and a whole lot more staying and working from home. We are deprived of what we usually do as a family or as a community. But a global pandemic doesn’t have to ruin the celebration of the season completely.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s to cherish the little things in life. Be it our yearly Christmas gathering...with friends and loved ones...To cherish simple things like the unwrapping of a gift from someone...from a colleague ...With still an uncertain future looming ahead especially in our country.. it’s more important now than ever to be grateful and to count our blessings.
We thank the Lord for the gift of health and life...and our thoughts go to those who lost their love ones this year due to Covid.
We thank the Lord for the gift of work...our thoughts go to those who have no work or those who closed their business..
This year, while many countries still are affected by Covid 19, our country was recently ravaged by successive typhoons and our thoughts go to those who lost their homes and most especially their loved ones.
As we celebrate Christmas in a different and difficult situation, we turn our gaze to God who becomes a baby — fragile and vulnerable...vulnerable even to bad elements like diseases and viruses of our time.
This is what makes Christmas what it truly is, for Christmas is God telling us, “I love you so much, I’m willing to become like you to show you that it is possible to live with love even in a world full of hatred and suffering. We’ll go through this together.”
Christmas shows us that God answers all our prayers concerning this pandemic and all the other difficulties we face in life, just not in the way we expect him to — like in a magical, spectacular, and instantaneous way.
Christmas is God telling us that the only way we can survive this pandemic is by way of patience (let us learn from the patience of Mary...the patience of her beloved spouse St. Joseph). We can survive this by the way of self-giving, the way of compassion, that is to suffer with the other person as a brother or a sister. Physical distancing, yes. But never charitable distancing...
The strength of Christianity lies not in its political or social influence. The true strength of Christianity lies in seeing Jesus in the other and being Jesus to the other by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and acting always with goodness and justice in all of our dealings (Cf. Mt 25 :31-46). Herein lies the true strength of Christmas.
The way we celebrate Christmas this year might be different, but there will be Christmas. We will still hear the angels sing the first Christmas carol ever sung: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of goodwill.”
A Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to you and your family.