Christmas is in the air again, so I would like to greet each one a Merry and Blessed Christmas. Christmas is the season when most people get busy with material preparations like decorating the house, preparing food, buying presents, eating, drinking and getting merry. However, let us be reminded that Christmas is not just about colorful decorations or nice clothes or new shoes or expensive presents or gifts, rather it is about the presence of God in our lives, the presence of the people we love and who love us—our families, our relatives, our friends and even our neighbors. This is a day to be with them and show them the gift of love as a family or as a community. It is also a day to think of the people who have wronged us, and those we have offended as well because Christmas is a time of forgiveness and acceptance. It is a time to humble ourselves and share the love and blessings we have received from God. Christmas is a time to receive and to give gifts, but even if we don’t have gifts to give, we can give our presence to the people we love. St. Pope JPII said, “No one is so poor that he has nothing to give, and no one is so rich that he has nothing to receive.
The first Christmas reveals to us the best gift ever given, and that is the presence of a God who became one with us because of His great love for us—A God who incarnates to forgive us and save us from all our sins. Thus, more than the physical preparations that we do for Christmas, the best way to celebrate it is to prepare our hearts and our souls that we may be worthy of the love of Jesus and the Father.
May you feel this great love this Christmas in the presence of the people who surround you so that you can also be instruments to make others feel and experience the love of God through you. May this day bring love and forgiveness to your heart so that you can humble yourself and and be obedient to the will of God in your life. Have a blessed and meaningful Christmas to all of you my dear Augustinians!
Fr. Dante M. Bendoy, OSA