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Beyond Santa Claus

They say that there are four stages in a man’s life when it comes to Christmas: 1) When he believes in Santa Claus; 2) When he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus; 3) When he is Santa Claus; and 4) When he looks like Santa Claus!

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 11, 2-11), we hear how the whole of Judea was intrigued and puzzled as to who the Messiah was. As we were puzzled about Santa Claus in our growing years, so, too, were the people who waited for the coming of the Messiah. Hopefully, our perception of who the Messiah is will become clear and real, and may our perception of Christmas go beyond stories of Santa Claus.

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Christmas is definitely more than Santa Claus and Winter Wonderland. Christmas is all about a personal relationship with God who sent His only Son to show His love for us, and our gratitude to the Savior who was sent to us, who became like one of us, and who suffered, died, and rose again for us, to save us. Christmas without Christ is no Christmas at all.

Jesus Christ was supposed to have said at one time to Santa Claus: “I envy you, Santa Claus. When Christmas time comes, people are more excited about you and the gifts and favors they get from you. They belittle or even forget me, the reason for the Christmas season.” Let us make sure that we really focus on what is important and what really matters at Christmas.

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You are still on “Santa Claus mode” if your Christmas concerns are all about the trimmings and all sorts of external preparations. Let us remember that Christmas happens in the heart.

Speaking of preparations, the nine-day dawn Masses (Misa de Gallo) will commence on Dec. 16. Those who make this joyful sacrifice will experience the true spirit of Advent.

Let us continue to pray much for our country and for our people, especially in this Christmas season. There is so much uncertainty and division prevailing. Peace is the message of Christmas. Peace is our wish, our hope, and aspiration. Let us continue to pray and work for peace.

When I went to the Garden of the Divine Word columbarium last Dec. 8 to visit Mama on her birthday, I was touched to see a young man putting flowers on her vault. He introduced himself as the grandson of one of our house helpers a long time ago, and he said he was paying homage to Papa and Mama who had helped his family all these years. Indeed, kindness is never forgotten. Remember, our power and wealth are nothing if in our lives kindness is lacking.

I still carry in my left pocket a rosary and a handkerchief—something I learned from Mama as a child. Little things mean a lot. I still carry in my heart the lessons and the many beautiful memories I have of our prayerful, humble, kind and joyful mother. As we journey on, let us be mindful of what we will leave behind.

ACR Bakery is well known in Lipa City for its tasty pan de sal. Edring and Baby Hernandez started this venture in 1986, and from very humble beginnings it has grown to be a successful business enterprise, employing about 50 people. Beyond the business side, Edring and Baby have made sure that their workers are properly paid and treated. I was also inspired to learn that the spiritual wellbeing of their workers is one of their priorities. May we live not only successful but also meaningful lives.

Think about this: “God prunes us like vines so that we can bear more fruits. It hurts, but it is better to be pruned now and become fruitful, than live without pain and become fruitless tomorrow.”

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My latest book, “Happy Moments,” is now off the press. It is a collection of “happy moments,” jokes, anecdotes, and reflections. Consider it as a gift this joyful season. It is available at National Bookstore and Christ the King Mission Seminary on E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City. Please call 7217457 for inquiries.

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us that beyond Santa Claus, Christmas is all about You, and Your love for us. Amen.

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TAGS: Christmas, Jesus Christ, Misa de Gallo, Santa Claus
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