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Beyond Santa Claus

Jesus was supposed to have said to Santa Claus one time: “You know, Santa, when Christmas time comes, people are more excited about your coming, and the gifts you’ll be bringing and all the Christmas trimmings, but they forget me, my presence, my message, and my wish for a closer personal relationship with them.”

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Merry Christmas everyone! It’s our second Christmas in the pandemic. I hope we have learned by now that Christmas is not so much about merry-making, parties, shopping. The pandemic has taught us that what matters most are not the things we hold in our hands, but the love we have in our hearts. I hope we have gone beyond Santa Claus Christmas to a “Mary” Christmas, a Christmas that is simple, peaceful, joyful, and Christ-filled.

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In today’s Gospel, the Prologue of St. John (John 1,1-18), we hear of God’s constant effort to reach out and communicate His love for us, even sending His Only Begotten Son. But his own people did not accept him. Why? Maybe because He did not give gifts and entertainment, or maybe because He asked for sacrifice and righteousness, and He was not good for politics and for business.

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Beyond Santa Claus is a Christ that gives us not just gifts but true and meaningful life; not just cozy Christmas feelings but a joy that is deep and meaningful, a joy which the world cannot give or take away, not just at Christmas time, but for life, all the way to eternal life.

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I spent some moments meditating before the New Born King one early morning last week. It was such a peaceful moment, so quiet, with the moon and cool December weather. My cozy moment was shattered when I heard a rustling sound and saw a stray cat that was sleeping at the Belen scamper away. Yes, as we experience Christmas, peace and comfort, let us not forget that there are people who have no place to stay, no food to eat, no provisions for their journey. Beyond feeling good this Christmas, let’s be good, and do good everyday. “May the spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts.” (Jose Mari Chan)

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Sharing with you this poem I read: “If you look for me at Christmas, you won’t need a special star—I’m no longer just in Bethlehem, I’m right there where you are. You may not be aware of Me amid the celebrations. You’ll have to look beyond the stores and all the decorations. But if you take a moment from your list of things to do and listen to your heart, you’ll find I’m waiting there for you. You’re the one I want to be with, you’re the reason that I came, and you’ll find Me in the stillness as I’m whispering your name.—Love, Jesus”

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Sharing with you one more reminder: “When the song of angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flock, the work of Christmas begins—to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to rebuild the nations.”

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Wishing you all a “Mary” Christmas, and a Better New Year, in all aspects, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Think about this: Jesus was born in a lowly manger. Question: Are you a “manger” or a “manager”? The spirit of Christmas will continue the whole year through if we learn to be more lowly like a manger, and less proud and controlling like a manager.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, more than “Santa Claus is coming to town,” may we be singing “Jesus Christ is coming to town!” Amen.

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