December 16, 2022
Christmas is a time of light. Every year, trees and houses are covered with lights. Christmas lights spell words of celebration. And many are fascinated by the beauty and grandeur of these lights but fail to see the reason that these lights indicate.
My dear friends, today we begin a beloved and joyful Christmas tradition among our people — the Misa de Gallo. It is our immediate spiritual preparation for the birth of our Savior, God’s greatest gift for humankind. Today’s Gospel speaks about John the Baptist. He is referred to as a “burning lamp shining lamp. When people saw the light on it, they rejoiced. They rejoiced that they took John as the light itself although John knew he was just a lamp for the light of the Lord. His life and his presence were merely a testimony to the true light. But when it was time for Jesus to reveal himself as the light, whom John testified, some people did not rejoice on it, instead they questioned Him. They failed to recognize Jesus as the true light.
Sometimes we also easily fall into this temptation. As the day of Christmas is coming, we tend to focus our attention on the different “lights” around us. Our attention and preparations are focused only on the externals. Many of us look forward to their 13th-month pay, Christmas sales in every mall and stores, anticipate Christmas parties, and are busy with plans to enjoy Christmas vacations. For others, they prepare for the coming birth of Christ by waking up early to attend the nine-day Misa de Gallo praying that their wishes will be granted. Many of us engage in activities without Jesus being welcomed as the light. Just like those people in the Gospel, they missed to look at the light that Jesus brings!
Friends, we must understand that all activities related to the coming Christmas are just mere “pointers”. The gift is Jesus. As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we are called to become like John the Baptist, who witnessed to the truth and to the true light. Let us not be blinded by the different lights that hinder us from recognizing Jesus. Rather, we focus our preparations on Jesus, the true essence and star of Christmas, by heeding the call of repentance and interior renewal. Let us spend these days in prayer as we joyfully await the advent of our Savior, who was born in Bethlehem, but longs to be born in our present-day manger – our hearts, our home, our community.
Lastly, today, we also celebrate the National Youth Day. We pray that just like John the Baptist, our young may continue to become bearers of the light maximizing their talents and abilities. May they make their lights shine in order for others to discover the Christ that gives the light in our hearts. Amen.
Question: How do you make Christmas meaningful?