Thursday, December 24, 2009


Pondering upon my Christmas experience, perhaps “celebration” would be the best word that would describe the secular understanding of Christmas. It is the most awaited moment of the year that even two months ahead before Christmas everybody is busy preparing for Christmas. Various Christmas decorations and beautiful items were displayed in malls and markets to catch attention to customers; lovely lullabies of music and joyful caroling lingering every ear that somehow reminds us of a joyful event that would surely happen. Parties were celebrated here and there with bountiful foods and beverages of every kind. Amazing and colorful lights were installed in different corners in the streets and houses that shine so brightly in the middle of the night. Financial crisis is somewhat not evident during the season of Christmas. It is really a time for jubilation especially in the Philippine context.
I personally enjoyed the Christmas celebration, spending time with the family, serving masses both at the cathedral and barrios, meeting with friends and attending Christmas gatherings. This is how exciting seminarian’s life would be. Tiresome but the experience was worth keeping for.

Definitely, my Christmas vacation was filled with joyful and fruitful memories but I finally realized that Christmas is not so much about jubilation or by just completing the nine dawn masses. In the Philippine context since we are family oriented, quality Christmas is a joyful celebration of unity. It is a time to be one in the family. To gather around to share and express love for one another in like manner that Jesus, Mary and Joseph - the Holy family is united in love. This orientation is manifested with our expression “susmaryosip” which invokes the personalities in the Holy Family. In my case, it’s different; I always celebrate my Christmas in the convent, since I entered the seminary, together with different people every year. I know it is more meaningful to celebrate Christmas in the family rather than being with the people whom you really don’t know but I need to prepare myself. This is really what the life of a priest would be. Christmas is the loneliest moment of a priest’s life. But thanks to technology I can still connect myself with my family. This is how we celebrate Christmas. It is a time to give emphasis on our “gigikanan” – the family where we first experience the unconditional love of our parents.

On the other hand, Christmas is not just about family gathering but a celebration to commemorate the time in which the savior of the world was born. Perhaps, salvation would be possible even without Joseph and Mary. This does not give less importance of the two personalities but the focal point of Christmas is “the word made flesh”(σάρξ έγένετο). This is the main reason why we celebrate Christmas which many people failed to recognize. It is not the fabulous and flamboyant Christmas decorations but the simple and ordinary setting in the manger where the child was born. The two account of the infancy narrative (Matthew and Luke) is really evident that does not express factual things because of some contradictory statements. What would be the intention of the authors in writing these narratives? Perhaps, they did not wrote these narratives just to shatter our faith but rather to emphasize that both evangelist agree on the religious message that Jesus really stepped into the realms of history for the salvation of mankind.

A certain phrase that goes “God became man so that man might become God”- I think this is the main reason of the coming of the messiah. He became man so that we can share His divinity and become one family. What if he had never been born? I don’t know how to answer such question. But what is certain for me is that salvation would still be possible even if Jesus did not embrace human nature because God is always faithful to his promise.

Tracing the genealogy of Jesus it catches my attention about the strange patriarchal choices of God of sinners over the just. Cheaters and liars such as Jacob and Judah over more honest and noble persons like Esau and Joseph. Even the women mention in the genealogy like Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth, they are women of questionable repute or in difficult marital circumstances or seen as publicly scandalous, yet became true instruments of God’s Spirit and grace in fulfilling the plan of salvation. Even in the time of Jesus, he chose those who are less expected persons like the insignificant fishermen and tax collectors who will be His disciples. Strange isn’t it? But isn’t it more strange that we are all here, people who are less expected to be called by God in this noble vocation? People who are struggling with different issues in life? Nobody is worthy to be a priest who will represent the person of Jesus in the Church but by grace of God we become worthy. Indeed, there is strength in weakness in God’s grace.

And so, meaningful Christmas cannot only be attained by rich people but also for those who are less privilege because quality Christmas is a celebration of unity in the family, a family of wicked and righteous individuals and communion of sinners and just. This unity of two contradicting realities made possible because of the person Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God.

Sosmaryosip!!! How mysterious, isn’t it?


norlansj said...

finally, i found your blogspot. i placed a bookmark already so i can check it our regularly for your latest reflections =) the xmas reflections are very good. thanks for these!

James Wendele Plaza Puracan said...

tnx for appreciating my simple reflection padz..... tnx for keeping n touch... its ur encouragement and support that caused me to compose such articles....