My dear people of God, this year’s Christmas is one of the most awaited Christmas celebrations we can have after the trials and difficulties that we have faced because of the pandemic. At last, we can finally celebrate face to face Christmas parties and family reunions without much worry. Such gatherings have been greatly missed.
However, many of us, including myself, may be celebrating Christmas this year without one of our loved ones. Other family members or friends might be abroad or at work. And sadly, others have passed away. There will always be a pain in our hearts whenever we celebrate without them.
Despite this, we continue to celebrate Christmas, and in this joyful celebration, we never fail to prepare gifts for the special persons in our lives. Do you know what is the best Christmas gift we can give? The most beautiful gift we can give this Christmas is our presence.
Because of the pandemic, the war in the other countries, and the natural calamities, we have experienced being alone, being quarantined, being separated from our loved ones, or losing a loved one. One of our biggest fears is to be alone. But Jesus came down upon us, the Emmanuel, and what is His greatest present for us? His presence, the loving presence of the Lord.
Let us also give this great gift to our family- the gift of our selves, our loving presence. We’ve been apart for a few Christmases, it’s time to be together again.
And as we journey towards synodality, may we also be present to our brothers and sisters who are in great need. Let us share with them the graces that we have received from our Lord, and make them feel the presence of Jesus through us.
This is Bishop Nes Ongtioco, wishing you and your loved ones peace and joy this Christmas and a bountiful New Year!