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WELCOME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

There’s nothing like Christmas: a season of joy, peace, hope and love (advent themes). There’s nothing like the friendly and joyful atmosphere almost anywhere you go, the brilliant and glittering lights on porches and streets, the creative and festive decorations in the church, the disarming and measured smile shared on parties not to mention the delicious home-made goodies, the profoundly moving and deeply touching Christmas carols and the lovely exchange of gifts and wishes. The over- all mood is unbelievable. People are nicer on check- out lines and generous with their resources than at any time of the year.

On Christmas, Catholics, practicing and not, will come to church in droves. Many of them disengaged with the parish grind and everything in between. They're tied up with family, work, worldly pleasures and perhaps, find little meaning and relevance in church life. If a family member, a relative or a friend wants to catch up with his/her faith, please let me know and I would be more than happy to assist. Christ is our host. We are his guests. Don’t be a stranger. Please feel at home at the Nativity Scene. All our preparations for Christmas boil down to making people feel welcome with a warm smile and a divine loving embrace, provide a sanctuary for busy lives, offer a safe space in the privacy of hearts, enjoy the peace and serenity and the quiet stillness of the moment with little to no pressure of coming back.

Christmas is often described as the Annual Homecoming of Catholics. It’s like, “Here comes the crowd.” It’s that time of the year when we gather to worship the God incarnate as a baby, the savior of the world. The church and the parking lot is undeniably, jam-packed. The presence of a humungous crowd of people is a joy and a sight to behold and brings to mind both the spiritual and religious significance of Christmas. WELCOME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!

What we celebrate on Christmas is the unfathomable love of God to humankind who in extreme level of humility, stripped himself and came to us in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. The young creature in the stall of Bethlehem is God. In Jesus, God spoke so powerful and clear. In him, God appeared bodily on earth. The incarnation of the Son of God is the starting point of Christianity. Although we won’t solve the mystery of our belief, this can’t easily be dismissed. It has doctrinal implication and practical application. The word made flesh (Et verbum caro factum est), God becoming man, makes the invisible reality visible. At this juncture, I’ll leave room for doubt and questions. If, after prayerful discernment, you refuse to accept in faith, it will be deeply troubling because then, religion will be devoid of transcendence. As a result, our theological understanding of church events and parish activities will simply be reduced into mere activism which is just one side of the equation. Mystery is not meant to be understood. Its purpose is to keep us marvel and be awed at the moment of God’s in-breaking. Whatever we do, we can’t altogether grasp the mystery of our faith. Our response is obedience, faith, worship and adoration.  

The Holy Father has recently published an apostolic letter on December 1, 2019 entitled ADMIRABILE SIGNUM on the meaning and importance of the Nativity Scene. I highly encourage you read it as we prayerfully welcome the Christ-child in our hearts, in our homes, in our families. He mentioned in the opening paragraph, “The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. As we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman. We come to realize that so great is his love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him.”

Tags: Christmas