Christmas, Christmas, Christmas – once nothing but a joyful season has become a rushed, intense and exhausting time as I grew older. It is not Christmas’ fault. I know that. It’s people’s perception of celebration, expectations, and superficiality.
When I was in college, I used to strive to complete all nine mornings at three in the morning. When I started to work, my Christmas time is consumed by shopping, dinners, and parties. But, you know what? Simbang Gabi for me is the best way to prepare for Christmas. It’s like preparing our hearts as the manger for Christ, to accept Him as our Saviour with all humility, faith, and love. It’s not the parties, the food, raffle prizes, performances, bonuses or gifts. It’s in our hearts, our prayerful hearts. There is nothing wrong with celebrating this yuletide season. It’s just that I hope we don’t miss the point of this joyful season. I’m excited to wrap up the parties this Friday and concentrate on how to prepare myself and my family for the true spirit of Christmas.
Christmas is thanksgiving. I let my kids know that the birth of the child Jesus means our salvation and that is something to be eternally grateful for. If Jesus isn’t born, we won’t be saved from our sins. I let my kids know our gift preparations for our friends, their ninongs and ninangs, families, and relatives to show them our gratitude for their love and care to our family.
Christmas is sharing. As much as possible I encourage my kids not to anchor themselves or their happiness with material things. I try to teach them contentment by making them identify their excesses so they can share them with others. I always tell them that their extras could be someone else’s only wish.
Christmas is giving. I also encourage my kids to give away something dear to them. Because for me, that is the essence of giving. It should have an impact on you, slightly hurts you even. Give until it hurts. Give until God stops giving you. God loves a cheerful giver. God sustains a giver. Giving pleases the Lord. Giving feeds the soul.
Christmas is praying together. No other preparation for Christmas is greater than praying. And, this is the time to pray joyfully together with our friends, families and other brothers and sisters. We should all come together and rejoice the coming of Jesus – the Son of God who was made flesh to save the sinful mankind, that’s us. I’m reading the kids Christmas stories and I watch live mass with my eldest.
Christmas is LOVE. Love is God. In everything we do, from this day forward, whether in glitz, glamour, simplicity or poverty, do it with love and see everything fall so effortlessly in their rightful places. That is God’s love – PERFECT. I know that it is easier said than done but to teach kids on how to do things with love, they first need to see it on us.